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g'gnhnl  vinal!  iti  lo  f^iifoijph/. 
.tf  yd  ,bnfiii  giii  to  bhon;  orb  ;te;>7  o.'.Jrij  ajjt  n 
-/!  ub  hfjii^O  ii8  d  lr;ol  !j;-  ^ 

i'rr.!    :  Us/is  adt  nO 
..ViVfqol/:   ?.n  garni  lo  9i;j)oif!   :  Ijj,-//  a/ft  nO 
n  i:i  n^oA.  bi7uinb3  yd  mov/  -^Ho-j  w/il  to 
-I  vrf  Ldgj/  fei/iaid^b/ic;!  9;iJ  315  luaua  9ri3  nO 

.83/3  .)i  yd  gnlyjl  .U  .11 
gnkxl  A9[  tH[  .aiM  lo^ajjH   :  ffiigsbaq  arh  nO 

vd  V{dln  F  35;  (Lii 

Background  of  Sir  Henry  living's  Chinese  curtain. 

On  the  table  rest  the  model  of  his  hand,  by  E.  Onslow 
Ford,  R.A.,  graciously  lent  by  Sir  Gerald  du  Marnier; 
Irving's  holiday  hat ;  Irving's  marked  copy  of  King 
Richard  II. 

On  the  shelf  :   Irving's  bust  by  Herbert  Hampton. 

On  the  wall :  Picture  of  Irving  as  Mephistopheles  ; 
picture  of  lace  collar  worn  by  Edmund  Kean  in  "  Hamlet." 

On  the  easel  are  the  handkerchief  used  by  Irving,  the 
last  time  he  played  "  The  Bells,"  and  the  portrait  of 
H.  B.  Irving  by  R.  Eves. 

On  the  pedestal  :  Bust  of  Mrs.  H.  B.  Irving  (Dorothea 
Baird)  as  Trilby,  by  Francis  Bacon. 









Printed  in  Great  Britain  at 
The  Mayflmutr  Press,  Plymouth.     William  Brendon  &  Son,  Ltd. 


TO     THE     MEMORY     OF 




WHEN  Mr,  Samuel  Travers  Carter  was 
invited  to  give  his  truthful  opinion  of 
the  young  Lady  Mickleham,  he  ended 
with  the  words :  "  Those  who  have  been  admitted 
to  the  enjoyment  of  her  friendship  are  unanimous 
in  discouraging  all  others  from  seeking  a  similar 

Those  who  are  required  to  share  Mrs.  Aria's  friend- 
ship with  any  unworthy  new  arrival  that  chances  to 
read  her  reminiscences  have  declined,  almost  without 
exception,  to  abet  her  disastrous  habit  of  making  new 
friends.  She  should  be  strictly  rationed,  they  feel,  if 
the  first  comers  are  to  have  their  just  allowance  of  her 
gay  philosophy  and  effervescent  wit. 

The  one  exception  can  only  defend  himself  by 
pleading  that  she  will  break  down  any  monopoly  that 
may  be  established  in  her  friendship.  Alternatively, 
he  may  argue  that,  when  an  introduction  is  stamped 
as  superfluous,  it  must  also  be  innocuous  :  of  herself 
Mrs.  Aria  says,  "  I  am  rapidly  becoming  amongst 
treats  or  penances  to  the  younger  generation,  which 
does  not  even  knock  at  my  door  but  walks  straight  in. 
...  I  am  a  place  of  entertainment,  a  point  of  pilgrim- 
age like  St.  Paul's,  Westminster  Abbey,  or  the  Zoo- 
logical Gardens.  ...  I  am  the  oldest  inhabitant  of  the 
stalls,  the  lady  Methuselah  on  the  mat  at  the  Box 
Offices,  and  as  well  known  as  the  Tower  of  London." 



Before  she  can  be  profitably  introduced,  it  is 
necessary,  therefore,  to  find  someone  to  whom  Mrs. 
Aria  is  not  already  known.  If  any  have  the  temerity 
to  confess  that  they  have  never  identified  the  author 
of  "  Mrs.  A.'s  Diary/'  in  Truth,  they  will  be  rewarded 
by  meeting  her  "  sentimental  self r  in  this  book. 
Her  older  friends  will  remember  that  Dolly  Mickleham 
insisted  on  Mr.  Carter's  changing  his  verdict  till  it 
read  :  "  Those  who  have  been  admitted  to  the  enjoy- 
ment of  her  friendship  are  unanimous  in  encouraging 
all  others  to  seek  a  similar  privilege." 


31  March,  1922. 



I.    ABOUT  MYSELF  IN  CHILDHOOD      .        .         .         .  i 



NALISM   ........  27 

IV.  MORE  ABOUT  MYSELF  AS  A  JOURNALIST         .        .  40 
V.    ABOUT  MY  SISTER  JULIA      .....  54 

HOLLAND  FAMILY  AND  W.  T.  STEAD          .         .  70 
VII.    ABOUT  HENRY  IRVING          .....  84 
VIII.    ABOUT  HENRY  IRVING          .        .        .        .  99 



XI.    ABOUT  THE  SONS  OF  HENRY  IRVING      .        .        .  144 

W.  L.  GEORGE  AND  JAMES  B.  PAGAN         .        .158 



DU  MAURIER    .......  173 


MOORE 186 

NETT      ........  198 

XVI.    ABOUT  LETTERS  AND  POSSESSIONS  .         .        .        .213 

XVII.    ABOUT  MYSELF  AND  MY  FRIENDS         .        .        .  229 


MY  TREASURE  CORNER    .....  Frontispiece 

Displaying  as  background  Sir  Henry  Irving's  Chinese 
curtain.  On  the  table  rest  the  model  of  his  hand,  by 
E.  Onslow  Ford,  R.A.,  graciously  lent  by  Sir  Gerald  du 
Maurier ;  Irving's  holiday  hat ;  Irving's  marked  copy  of 
King  Richard  II.  On  the  shelf  :  Irving's  bust  by 
Herbert  Hampton.  On  the  wall  :  Picture  of  Irving  as 
Mephistopheles  ;  picture  of  lace  collar  worn  by  Edmund 
Kean  in  "  Hamlet."  On  the  easel  are  the  handkerchief 
used  by  Irving,  the  last  time  he  played  "  The  Bells,"  and 
the  portrait  of  H.  B.  Irving  by  R.  Eves.  On  the  pedestal : 
Bust  of  Mrs.  H.  B.  Irving  (Dorothea  Baird)  as  Trilby,  by 

Francis  Bacon. 

Facing  page 
MY  MOTHER  SEWING  BABY  CLOTHES        ....        6 

COVER  OF  "  THE  WORLD  OF  DRESS,"  by  Wm.  Nicholson  .  38 

STUDY  OF  EDMUND  KEAN,  by  Clint 116 

DEATH  MASK  OF  SIR  HENRY  IRVING  .  .  ..  .142 


H.  G.  WELLS 176 

W.  L.  COURTNEY,  M.A.,  LL.D 190 



Facing  page 


ARNOLD  BENNETT    .        .        .        .        .        .        .        .218 

BUST  OF  SIR  HENRY  IRVING  AS  HAMLET,  early  design,  by 

E.  Onslow  Ford,  R.A 222 



CORNER  OF  FITZROY  SQUARE,  by  C.  R.  W.  Nevinson         .  240 


"  I  PITY  the  man  who  can  travel  from  Dan  to 
Beersheba,  and  cry  'Tis  all  barren — and  so  it  is  ; 
and  so  is  all  the  world  to  him  who  does  not  cultivate 
the  fruits  it  offers.  I  declare,  said  I,  clapping  my 
hands  cheerily  together,  that  was  I  in  a  desert  I 
would  find  out  wherewith  in  it  to  call  forth  my 
affection." — LAURENCE  STERNE. 




^HERE  is  much  attraction  in  writing  an 
autobiography  by  request,  and  this  is  com- 
manded by  many  friends,  who  seem  to 
imagine  that  from  my  garden  of  memories  I  shall 
hand  them  all  handsome  bouquets. 

There  is  one  forceful  objector  to  the  scheme  and 
he  is  convinced  that  indiscretion  being  the  better  part 
of  biography,  I  should  avoid  all  temptation  to  com- 
mit it. 

"  Don't,"  he  said,  uplifting  his  square  chin,  glaring 
fiercely  prohibitive,  while  he  thrust  his  fingers  through 
his  sturdy  crop  of  hair  and  asserted  with  aggressive 
decisiveness  "  personalities  are  vulgar." 

I  vowed  to  avoid  the  contemporary  way  and  I 
protested  that  I  would  dilate  neither  on  the  luncheons 
I  had  eaten,  nor  on  the  lovers  I  had  devoured. 

"  Don't  do  it,"  he  reiterated,  but  the  lurking  in- 
dulgence in  his  eyes  enticed  my  obstinate  optimism  to 
brave  his  counsel.  And  it  may  come  to  pass  that  he 
will  prove  to  have  been  the  one  wise  man,  readers 
with  reviewers  uprising  to  regret  that  his  good  advice 
went  by  the  way  of  much  other. 


There  was  once  an  American  who  decided  that  the 
ideal  old  age  would  be  passed  reading  a  book  by 
himself  about  himself,  whilst  a  capable  cook  was 
busy  in  his  kitchen,  and  a  silent  servant  sat  to  atten- 
tion in  his  ante-room. 

Such  happening  would  not  be  my  Canaan,  while  I 
embark  upon  my  Odyssey  full  sail  with  a  garrulity 
even  beyond  my  age,  and  a  prompt  confession  that 
my  chronology  is  of  the  strong  and  silent  type.  I 
would  not  tell  that  age  if  I  knew  it,  and  I  give  warning 
at  once  that  I  am  unable  to  set  down  much  in  malice  ; 
I  have  so  rarely  suffered  any  that  I  could  better  sound 
through  my  pages  a  snivelling  echo  of  little  Joe,  "  He 
was  very  good  to  me,  he  was." 

In  the  sunlight  of  my  joys  there  have  been  many 
to  walk  beside  me,  and  there  is  a  kindly  multitude  to 
sit  with  me  in  the  shadows. 

I  venture  to  plead  the  excuse  for  autobiography  that 
my  life  has  so  thoroughly  interested  me  it  seems 
worth  living  over  again  in  the  written  word.  When 
I  look  at  my  inkstand  and  see  "  the  beaded  bubbles 
winking  at  the  brim/1  I  feel  that  those  inky  winks 
invite  the  active  pen. 

And  I  am  gratefully  aware  that  even  when  I  have 
been  but  the  idle  liver  of  an  empty  day,  the  emptiness 
of  that  day  has  heard  some  bright  thing  said  and  seen 
some  dear  thing  done  by  others.  Like  Rupert  Brooke's 
soldier-hero,  I  have  "  gone  proudly  friended  " ;  there- 
fore, of  course,  I  realise  the  outrageous  solecism 
I  commit  while  indicating  "  Who's  what  "  amongst 
my  acquaintances. 

Expansive  biographers  of  the  mighty  have  not  been 
vivisectors,  and  death  has  preceded  their  commen- 


taries,  but  I  make  only  the  slightest  sketches,  I  am 
the  easy  impressionist  while  I  stand  respectfully  in  the 
lesser  circle.  Moreover,  in  my  autobiography  I  must 
be  forgiven  personalities  because  of  the  gregarious 
germ  which  is  incurably  set  in  me,  born  I  have  no 
doubt  in  the  first  moment  I  opened  my  eyes  to  meet 
those  of  my  nurse.  I  feel  sure  I  invited  her  to  con- 
versation and  that  I  gurgled  a  reply  to  her  acquiescent 
"  Was  urns." 

In  contemporary  fiction  and  not  without  precedent, 
there  is  leaning  towards  the  word-photograph,  and  the 
romance  with  a  key  opens  the  door  to  much  amusement 
alike  for  the  friends  and  the  enemies  of  the  lampooned. 
In  accurate  presentment  of  some  famous  fools  or 
knaves,  their  gait,  gesture,  features,  or  complexions, 
an  injured  author  may  salve  his  wounds,  real  or 

From  one  woman  on  another  with  flaccid  drab  face 
and  bulging  pale  blue  eyes  beneath  thick  crinkling 
grey  hair,  such  comment  as  "  she  looks  like  a  distin- 
guished bad  oyster "  is  a  bonne-bouche  for  every 

I  will  have  none  of  such,  but  will  label  honestly 
those  I  venture  to  admire,  praise  and  blame,  and  I 
will  offer  no  apology  for  my  egotism  born  of  intro- 
spection which  reveals  characteristics.  For  charac- 
teristics bestow  interest  on  the  narrative  which  depends 
upon  the  circumstances  where  they  led. 

To  begin  near  the  beginning,  the  atmosphere  of  my 
earlier  childhood  was  tainted  by  the  smell  of  collodion. 
My  father,  who  had  planned  for  himself  a  career  as 
an  artist,  was  forced  by  the  demands  of  a  family  of 
nine  to  become  a  photographer ;  at  least  he  brought 


his  art  and  his  charm  to  the  task  of  posing  sitters  who 
thronged  the  studio,  which  was  approached  by  a 
narrow  bridge  from  the  first  floor  landing  of  the  house 
where  I  was  born  in  Bruton  Street.  Across  this  bridge 
we  children  were  forbidden  to  wander,  and  accordingly 
we  wandered,  into  a  dark  room  of  mystery  pervaded 
by  the  smell  of  chemicals  and  an  active  demon  named 
Martin,  who  was  for  ever  stirring  a  stick  round  a  dark 
fluid  in  an  oblong  dish. 

Artistic  photography  was  then  in  its  infancy,  and 
my  father  was  amongst  the  first  to  nurture  it.  In 
boyhood  there  had  been  much  promise  to  him  of 
achievement  as  a  painter,  and  for  his  needs  then  he 
could  find  a  patron  to  dispense  sufficient  remunera- 
tion for  copies  of  the  masterpieces  in  the  National 

Behind  me  as  I  write  hangs  an  example  of  his  skill 
with  an  "  Assumption  "  by  Murillo  :  experts  have 
assured  me  of  the  ability  shown  in  its  colour  and  its 
draughtsmanship.  On  me  the  picture  throws  a 
romantic  glamour  due  to  its  association  with  the  time 
of  my  parents'  betrothal,  when  my  mother  watched 
anxiously  for  the  twilight  which  would  curtail  my 
father's  industry  and  hasten  their  meeting. 

My  father  was  remarkably  handsome,  and  my 
mother  adored  him  for  twenty-five  years  and  his 
memory  for  a  further  twenty-five.  Always  I  was 
jealous  and  resentful  of  him  ;  he  absorbed  so  much 
of  her  attention,  and  when,  during  the  last  months  of 
his  life,  she  would  come  down  to  our  breakfast  and 
our  early  morning  prayers,  ritual  never  omitted,  for 
we  were  reared  strictly  in  the  Jewish  faith,  I  was 
angered  at  her  absent-mindedness,  distressed  by  her 


tear-stained  eyes  and  irritated  by  the  persistent  "  don't 
make  such  a  noise  when  you  go  upstairs  for  your 

Like  most  young  folks,  I  was  as  ignorant  as  in- 
tolerant of  illness,  and  the  noise  of  my  father's  con- 
stant cough,  and  the  smell  of  his  inseparable  cigar, 
vexed  me,  in  alliance  with  the  supreme  importance 
attached  to  his  every  word  and  movement.  I  was 
impatient  of  his  ways  altogether,  quick  to  discern  that 
he  was  not  at  all  attached  to  the  majority  of  his 
children,  that  he  took,  indeed,  an  unbearably  critical 
attitude  towards  them,  and  that  he  was  exasperatingly 
prone  to  make  fun  of  them. 

"  Bella/'  he  would  say  to  my  mother  when  he  met 
me  and  my  adored  sister  Julia  on  the  stairs,  "  why  do 
those  girls  look  like  housemaids  ?  " 

I  suspect  his  twinkling  eyes  were  just  enough  in 
their  dispraisement :  our  hands  were  red,  our  hair 
brushed  straightly  back  from  foreheads  hideously  high, 
and  we  were  pale  and  dull  with  nondescript  features 
lacking  every  attribute  of  fascination.  Children  are 
sensitive  to  comment,  however  amusing,  and  my  father 
was  possessed  of  the  humour  microbe  which  later  on 
I  tried  to  claim  as  inheritance  but  knew  to  be  the  sole 
property  of  my  brother  James,  whose  earliest  certifi- 
cates from  school  bore  the  underlined  remark,  "  A 
very  good  boy,  but  a  little  too  witty." 

"  Bella,  my  dear,  we  must  have  a  house  on  the  river 
with  a  sloping  lawn,"  my  father  would  say  whilst  he 
contemplated  our  numbers,  and  my  mother  would 
smile  and  I,  never  doubting  his  sincerity,  would  grow 
hurt  and  sullen  with  a  quick  grasp  of  the  hint  that  I 
had  been  marked  superfluous. 


I  hold  other  special  grievances  against  my  father, 
because  during  our  rare  encounters  my  fear  of  his 
ridicule  robbed  me  of  thought  and  speech  whilst  I 
wanted  desperately  to  secure  his  approval.  I  would 
prepare  a  piece  to  play  to  him  on  the  piano,  and  the 
ceremony  of  the  performance  was  actual  pain  to  me, 
and  doubtless  agony  to  him.  "  She  must  get  on  with 
her  mathematics  "  was  his  sarcastic  solace  the  last  time 
we  suffered  together  from  my  rendering  of  a  Czerny 

Again  he  would  baulk  me  with  a  sudden  recollection 
that  I  was  accredited  with  some  ability  for  sums. 
Indeed  I  became  so  expert  in  algebra  that  my  tutor, 
Mr.  Gilmour,  allowed  me  to  help  him  to  set  some  test 
papers  for  the  examination  of  the  College  of  Preceptors. 
Greatly  clever  in  the  schoolroom,  I  was  a  shy  fool 
elsewhere.  In  the  dining-room,  where  we  were  all 
marshalled  for  dessert,  and  pledged  to  enjoy  cracking 
and  peeling  my  father's  walnuts,  he  would  assail  me 
with  the  simplest  problems  and  I  would  fail  utterly  to 
arrive  at  any  correct  solution.  His  slightest  glance 
left  me  dumb  and  confused  and  convinced  of  an 
incurable  stupidity.  Yet  had  I  only  known  him  when 
I  was  a  woman,  infallibly  I  should  have  shared  my 
mother's  devotion  to  him.  I  have  read  some  of  his 
beautiful  letters  to  her  to  learn  from  them  his  tender- 
ness and  his  fun,  whilst  I  recognised  his  artistic  and 
literary  instincts  in  charming  verselets  and  small 
drawings  which  beset  his  admirable  caligraphy.  I 
treasure  now  a  little  drawing  that  he  made  of  my 
mother  when  she  was  sewing  baby  clothes. 

I  wish  I  had  understood  him  earlier,  and  I  envied 
my  eldest  sister,  Ellen,  her  chance  :  I  know  now  I 



To  facs  page  6 


should  have  numbered  my  father  proudly  amongst  my 

But  of  all  his  children,  he  only  cared  for  three,  for 
that  daughter  Ellen  whose  mind  was  attuned  to  his  ; 
for  Florrie,  a  baby  with  golden  hair  and  blue  eyes  ;  and 
for  his  son  James,  who,  under  the  name  of  "  Owen 
Hall,"  which  he  selected  as  suitable  to  his  perennial 
impecuniosity,  became  a  popular  figure  in  Bohemia. 

The  family  somehow  appeared  to  divide  itself  into 
distinct  parts.  There  were  Ellen  and  James  at  the  top  ; 
and  at  the  end  Julia — "  Frank  Danby  " — and  Eliza, 
I — who  write.  Four  other  members  "  also  ran,"  and 
an  ante-final  effort  was  Florrie,  established  as  the  pretty 
one,  and  maintaining  the  justice  of  the  appellation  in 
her  picture  by  F.  Markham  Skipworth,  which  now 
displays  its  pale  elegance  in  her  country  home,  where 
she  acts  the  willing  hostess  to  any  member  of  the  new 
or  old  generation  who  may  demand  rest  or  recreation. 

But  it  must  be  admitted  that  Florrie  once  fell  to 
the  desire  of  writing,  and  she  published  a  novel,  The 

1  You  are  the  beauty  of  the  family,"  we  advised  her, 
and  she  accepted  the  verdict  as  condemning  the  volume 
to  solitude.  Now  she  devotes  herself  to  the  growing 
of  fine  grandchildren  and  the  planting  of  rock  gardens 
which  blossom  always  more  beautifully  as  rock  gardens 
will.  She  married  Marcus  Collins,  one  of  the  best  men 
I  ever  knew,  though  he  boasts  a  brusqueness,  scarcely 
rivalled  by  Carlyle  in  working  hours  interrupted  by 
pain  or  a  smoking  chimney. 

What  good  M.  E.  Collins  did  during  the  war  will 
never  be  known,  for  he  will  never  admit  that  he  did 
anything,  but  so  far  as  was  in  him  as  architect,  man 


and  citizen  he  was  lavish  in  the  giving.  Beyond  the 
years  of  active  service  at  the  Front,  he  was  the  man 
who  stayed  at  home  to  help  to  adapt  many  buildings 
to  hospital  needs,  slaving  at  plans  while  bereft  of  all 
assistance,  son  and  daughters  alike  in  uniform,  and 
clerks  in  the  field. 

But  if  I  would  retain  his  regard  "  the  rest  is  silence/' 
broken  by  the  ticking  of  the  forty  old  clocks  whose 
collection  in  perfect  striking  order  is  amongst  his  peace 
hobbies,  deplored  ungratefully  enough  by  his  guests. 

Julia  and  I,  inseparable  pair,  showed  our  propen- 
sities before  our  first  decade  had  sped,  when  I  would 
babble  of  pantomimes  and  dress,  proving  my  efficiency 
in  trimming  a  hat  or  f rocking  a  fairy  doll,  and  she  would 
be  at  a  table  aloof,  scribbling  and  re-scribbling  little 
stones,  wherein  I  was  queen  of  romance  and  she  was 
a  lady-in-waiting  on  literature. 

Amongst  her  most  cherished  "  howlers  "'  perpe- 
trated then  was  her  comment  on  an  eight  in  a  boat 

"  All  rowed  fast,  but  none  so  fast  as  our  hero." 

Julia  has  been  known  to  express  an  opinion,  that 
my  devotion  to  the  drama  and  to  dress  will  find  me  in 
old  age  an  established  favourite  at  a  lunatic  asylum, 
where  I  think  I  am  Autolycus,  and  I  dangle  ribbons  to 
make  and  unmake  the  same  hat.  I  wonder  !  anyhow 
my  love  of  theatres  and  of  clothes  yet  exists,  and  her 
first  ambition  to  write  lasted  throughout  her  too  short 
years,  even  unto  their  heroic  close,  and  her  dying 
achievement  of  Twilight,  when  her  three  sons  were  in 

Julia  and  I  walked  together,  learnt  together,  talked 
together,  and  slept  together  in  a  large  double  bed,  and 


her  tale-telling  ambitions  were  confided  to  me  from 
the  age  of  seven. 

:<  Say  good  night  to  each  other  and  go  to  sleep 
quickly/'  was  Mother's  formula,  hopefully  delivered. 

Not  a  chance  of  such  proceeding  ;  Julia  told  me 
tales  until  midnight,  and  even  then  I  murmured 
greedily,  "  Go  on  !  " 

Our  daily  school,  where  boys  and  girls  were  received, 
was  conducted  by  a  Miss  Belisario,  and  under  her 
guidance  many  Jews,  Jessels,  Mocattas,  Sebags  and 
Montefiores,  all  present-time  magnates,  took  with  us 
their  first  lessons. 

Miss  Belisario  was  a  Jewess  of  the  most  rigid  kind, 
a  severe  disciplinarian  regarding  the  traditions  of  our 
faith  as  sacrosanct,  and  incidentally  allotting  to  me  a 
prize  for  reciting  the  ten  commandments  in  Hebrew. 
I  wish  now  that  I  could  remember  them  to  faithful 
observance  even  in  English. 

"  Young  ladies,  don't  laugh  but  say  the  blessing," 
she  would  urge  with  uplifted  hand  when  she  entered 
the  classroom,  her  brown  wig  well  awry,  to  hear  us 
tittering  during  a  thunderstorm.  She  was  a  stern  and 
stupendous  figure,  and  reported  to  have  written  to 
upbraid  Charles  Dickens  for  allotting  the  thief  Fagin 
to  the  Jewish  race. 

By  the  way,  this  course  was  followed  by  a  number  of 
Jews,  and  in  Forster's  Life  of  Charles  Dickens  he  speaks 
of  the  benevolent  old  Jew  in  Our  Mutual  Friend  being 
presented  as  an  unconscious  agent  of  a  rascal,  in  order 
to  wipe  out  the  reproach  against  his  Jew  in  Oliver 

The  daily  walk  to  our  school  initiated  the  order  of 
pocket-money,  and  Julia  bought  jumbles  at  three  a 


penny  to  give  two  of  these  to  Eliza,  who  devoured  a 
large  bun  entirely  on  her  own  account.  I  find  in  this 
trifling  incident  the  initial  letter  to  the  whole  alphabet 
of  Julia's  existence  so  far  as  I  was  concerned  :  two- 
thirds  of  her  jumbles — and  many  came  to  her  lot — 
were  always  for  Eliza. 

I  think  no  literary  dedication  more  touching  in  its 
exaggeration  than  hers  to  me  on  the  fly-leaf  of  her 
novel,  Concert  Pitch. 

"  Dearest,  you  said  recently  that  I  had  never  dedi- 
cated a  book  to  you,  and  you  said  it  as  if  you  were  a 
little  hurt  that  I  had  withheld  the  slight  compliment. 
Take  this  one  then,  it  is  no  worse,  perhaps  better  than 
some  of  the  others.  You  read  it  in  synopsis  and  manu- 
script ;  without  your  sympathy  and  encouragement  it 
would  certainly  have  been  less  adequate,  but  does  not 
this  hold  good  for  all  I  do  ?  It  seems  to  me 

1  There  is  no  word  of  all  my  songs, 
But  unto  thee  belongs/ 


I  go  back  to  Frank  Danby  in  the  making,  as  at  all 
times  and  circumstances  I  would,  to  justify  our 
mother's  conviction,  "  If  Eliza  is  satisfied  with  Julia, 
and  Julia  is  satisfied  with  Eliza,  there  is  of  course 
nothing  left  to  be  desired."  Those  words  came  to 
play  the  prophetic  part  as  the  gospel  of  my  life. 

My  school-days  ended  barren  to  me  of  the  least 
knowledge,  except  those  forgotten  ten  command- 
ments ;  and  our  education  was  rendered  into  the  hands 
of  Mr.  Gilmour  and  Madame  Paul  Lafargue,  the 
eldest  daughter  of  Karl  Marx. 


Paul  Laf argue,  Editor  of  the  Cri  du  People,  was 
undergoing  imprisonment  for  some  ultra-socialistic 
article.  I  forget  the  exact  circumstances,  but  I  know 
how  fortunate  we  should  have  considered  ourselves 
in  its  result. 

Madame  Lafargue  was  a  most  remarkable  and  in- 
teresting personality,  never  failing  to  reiterate  her 
opinion  that  we  were  of  an  abysmal  ignorance  which 
she  could  never  hope  to  plumb. 

Whilst  Julia,  however,  endeavoured  earnestly  to 
atone,  and  under  Madame  Lafargue  this  should  have 
been  easily  possible,  I  became  more  and  more  frivolous, 
taking  heed  only  of  Madame's  beauty,  of  her  elegance, 
of  her  auburn  Pompadour,  her  slim  grace  and  the 
quick  cadences  of  her  French.  The  sad  circumstances 
which  led  to  her  fate  to  instruct  two  such  unworthy 
little  girls  concerned  me  not  at  all ;  but  she  must 
have  loved  her  husband  very  dearly,  upholding  his 
cause  with  unswerving  devotion,  for  when,  as  preacher 
of  an  unwanted  doctrine,  he  fell  again  within  the  arm 
of  a  relentless  law,  and  incurable  illness  threatened 
with  incurable  poverty,  she  decided  to  avoid  all  further 
efforts  in  the  oblivion  of  death,  which  they  sought 

I  am  conscious  that  about  the  time  of  her  leaving  us 
the  whole  circumstances  of  our  lives  changed,  our 
tutor  was  dismissed  and  practically  our  education 

My  father  died  while  puffing  at  a  cigar  my  mother 
had  lighted  for  him ;  and,  speaking  his  last  words, 
"  You  always  know  what  I  want,  darling,"  made 
summary  of  the  blessed  marriage. 

The  note  of  gaiety  in  our  house  was  hushed  to  com- 


plete  silence,  and  there  came  great  difficulties  about 
means,  so  that  the  enterprising  Julia  went  forth  to 
work  at  any  obtainable  task,  and  found,  as  the  earnest 
seekers  ever  will,  some  outlet  for  her  energy  in  the 
accomplishment  of  Church  embroidery,  and  addressing 
envelopes  for  a  Necropolis  Company,  whilst  I  followed 
my  unchangeable  course  of  idleness,  interrupting  this 
only  by  taking  classes  in  dressmaking  and  millinery 
for  the  exclusive  benefit  of  myself. 

Through  James,  married  now,  came  all  our  pleasures, 
and  I  could  write  a  whole  book  with  him  in  the  fore- 
front. He  was  a  god  of  my  early  idolatry  by  reason  of 
his  unvaried  amiability  to  us.  He  would  bring  boxes 
of  chocolates,  seats  for  a  theatre,  and  an  offer  of  a  day 
at  the  races.  I  suspect  he  was  sorry  for  our  dull  time  ; 
certainly  he  endeavoured  to  enliven  things. 

We  had,  however,  as  few  duties  as  pleasures,  but 
like  all  the  young  Jews  of  that  period,  we  were  taught 
to  show  great  respect  to  our  elders,  and  these  included 
an  uncle  who  belonged  to  the  Galsworthy- Forsyth  type, 
and  two  aunts,  bred  on  different  sides  of  the  house. 
Uncle  was  a  tremendous  fellow,  with  ginger  whiskers 
and  an  absorbing  interest  in  himself.  He  rarely  spoke 
of  anyone  else.  He  used  always  to  announce  to  his 
wife  Sophia,  "  If  either  of  us  dies,  I  shall  go  and  live 
in  Paris. " 

His  megalomania  was  splendid  in  its  perfection.  "  I 

have  just  heard  poor  A is  ill.  I  must  send  my 

footman  round  to  enquire." 

"  Bella,"  he  would  dictate  to  my  mother,  "  how  are 
you  this  morning  ?  I  am  feeling  very  well.  You  are 
looking  rather  pale.  Why  don't  you  walk  ?  I  walk, 
that  is  the  secret  of  my  health.  Walk,  Bella,  walk," 


and  he  walked  off,  dying  in  middle  age,  so  far  as  I  can 
remember,  and  I  have  not  much  desire  to  know 
whether  he  walked  up  or  down. 

But  the  aunts  were  far  more  interesting,  and  they 
were  visited  to  order  on  alternate  Saturdays,  Saturday 
afternoon  being  the  great  visiting  time  for  all  of  us, 
who  punctually  attended  the  Synagogue  in  the  morning. 

Both  aunts  were  possessed  of  unforgettable  attri- 
butes, the  one  related  to  my  mother  being  of  the  stern 
aspect,  deeply  religious,  and  widely  charitable.  She 
lived  in  magnificent  state  at  a  mansion  with  extensive 
grounds  in  St.  John's  Wood,  now  given  over  to  a 

All  about  her  evinced  wealth,  dignity  and  an  exalted 
outlook  on  duty.  A  whole  wing  of  her  establishment 
was  devoted  to  her  old  mother,  who  with  much  cere- 
mony would  occasionally  grant  us  audience  and,  as  any 
Pope  might,  would  bless  us  solemnly  on  dismissing  us 
from  her  presence. 

Aunt  had  a  large  family  of  children  ;  a  score  had 
been  granted  to  her,  and  but  half  a  dozen  translated, 
while  the  surviving  "  young  ladies  "  had  their  own 
carriage  and  their  own  coachman,  and  also  to  our 
greater  content  a  capital  croquet  lawn  and  a  monster 
dolls'  house  replete  with  all  the  luxuries. 

Notwithstanding  the  atmosphere  of  decorum  and 
divine  grace,  we  passed  some  very  merry  hours  up  there 
with  them  in  St.  John's  Wood,  and  "  the  young 
ladies  "  and  myself  often  foregather  now  to  talk  of 

Aunt  No.  2  was  a  sister  of  my  father's,  and  of  a 
strikingly  beautiful  personality  despite  her  forty-five 
years.  She  lived  in  a  huge  house  in  Bayswater,  and 


dressed  always  in  satin,  black  or  purple,  whilst  over 
her  hair  she  draped  a  veil  of  white  Limerick  lace 
which  fell  to  the  ground  at  the  back,  and  was  caught 
tightly  under  her  chin  to  her  ears  with  diamond- 
framed  topaz  brooches.  Her  mittened  white  fingers 
were  covered  with  rings,  and  her  cheeks  were  not 
quite  innocent  of  rouge. 

"  You  would  look  much  better  without  all  that  stuff 
upon  your  face,"  expostulated  her  brother,  and  she 
would  answer  sapiently  : 

11  You  haven't  seen  me  without  it." 

She  was  a  very  amusing  woman,  and  Julia  and  I 
were  always  very  glad  to  find  ourselves  with  her.  She 
used  to  tell  us  many  anecdotes  about  her  servants, 
about  Maria  "  who  was  a  very  bad  cook,  but  made 
excellent  button-holes  "  ;  also  of  Brown,  her  rather 
sad  and  faded  manservant,  never  seen  without  white 
cotton  gloves. 

He  had  the  manners  of  a  dancing  master,  would 
enter  the  room  with  three  steps  to  the  right,  three 
steps  to  the  left,  and  three  up  the  centre  to  deposit  a 
tea-tray  blazing  in  brightest  silver  in  front  of  my 
imperious  aunt,  who  would  signal  to  him  for  her  high 
satin  footstool,  and  brush  him  aside  until  she  was 
ready  for  him  to  pirouette  around  with  the  filled  tea- 

Once  at  a  dinner-party  after  a  tremendous  crash  had 
been  heard  outside  the  door,  he  distinguished  himself 
by  approaching  her  with  a  deep  bow,  and  whispered 
words  of  comfort — "  Only  a  few  dirty  plates,  madam." 



I  HAVE  seldom  indulged  in  the  popular  habit  of 
consulting  the  advertising  fortune-tellers,  but 
someone  of  the  less  rigid  outlook  tempted  me 
to  visit  an  oracle,  who  was  proving  his  right  to 
illegal  guineas,  somewhere  near  the  Strand. 

His  room  was  full  and  dark,  and  his  method  was 
to  demand  some  personal  possession,  purse  or  gloves, 
or  such-like,  and  then  deliver  the  verdict. 

To  my  amazement  and  denial  at  that  time,  this  gentle- 
man-in-office,  whilst  returning  to  me  my  handkerchief, 
muttered  with  his  eyes  half  shut,  "  Writing,  writing, 
writing,  I  can  see  nothing  around  you  but  writing. " 

I  cannot  explain  this,  and  never  could,  but  there 
was  some  strange  fate  at  work  to  direct  three  members 
of  an  ordinary  family  of  commonplace  birth,  education 
and  environment  towards  the  literary  path. 

James  was  definitely  responsible  for  Julia's  first 
venture  when  he  started  his  newspaper  Pan,  and 
brought  to  our  house  Oscar  and  Willie  Wilde,  and  one 
Alfred  Thompson,  who  was  well  known  then  as  master 
of  theatrical  dress,  with  a  special  leaning  towards  the 
ballet  and  a  singular  dexterity  of  fingers  with  which 
he  could  illustrate  many  dancing  steps. 

Oscar  Wilde  was  a  slender  stripling,  inclining  towards 
fat  only  in  the  face,  and  I  would  sit  and  gaze  at  him 



with  his  chin  in  his  hand,  in  silent  wonder  at  his  strange 
slow  utterances,  while  I  respected,  with  no  notion 
what  it  implied,  that  "  He  had  won  the  Newdigate." 

How  impressed  I  was  with  his  soliloquy,  all  unin- 
telligible as  it  was  to  me,  on  a  girl  he  had  met  at  six 
o'clock  in  the  morning  in  Co  vent  Garden  Market. 

"  She  carried  a  large  bunch  of  lilies.  How  beautiful 
you  are  !  I  murmured,  and  she  passed  by  in  silence. 
How  beautiful/' 

Both  Oscar  Wilde  and  Willie  Wilde  became  frequent 
visitors,  and  in  a  public  garden  which  spread  its  ill- 
kept  lumpish  lawn  behind  our  dwelling  we  often  played 
tennis  together  :  Willie  in  a  shirt  showing  some  desire 
to  be  divorced  from  the  top  of  his  trousers,  and  Oscar 
in  a  high  hat  with  his  frock-coat  tails  flying  and  his 
long  hair  waving  in  the  breeze. 

Julia's  attempt  at  a  parody  of  a  villanelle  by  Oscar 
Wilde  which  had  appeared  in  The  World  led  to  an 
interview  with  Edmund  Yates,  who  found  in  it  some 
excuse  for  encouraging  her  to  take  up  writing  as  a 

It  is  a  coincidence  that  her  first  published  lines 
should  have  owed  their  existence  to  Oscar  Wilde,  and 
that  her  novel  The  Sphinx's  Lawyer  had  the  same 
inspiration,  twenty-eight  years  having  elapsed  between- 

Julia  dedicated  The  Sphinx's  Lawyer  to  James. 

:<  Because  you  hate  and  loathe  my  book  and  its 
subject,  knowing  all  the  violence  of  your  antipathy 
which  can  be  summed  up  in  a  sentence,  '  Such  a 
career  is  outside  the  region  of  art.'  " 

As  the  paper  Pan  went  to  popularity  and  thence 
through  an  inexperienced  direction  to  death,  my 


brother  started,  owned  and  edited  in  turn  The  Bat, 
The  Cuckoo  and  The  Phoenix,  whilst  writing  indus- 
triously for  The  Sporting  Times  many  paragraphs  on 
the  road  to  racing,  and  dramatic  criticisms  under  the 
signature  "  Stalled  Ox."  He  distilled  the  spirit  of 
camaraderie  at  Romano's,  imbibing  some  more  at 
Curzon  Street,  where  he  gathered  around  him  all  the 
brightest  wits  of  the  gay  Press  and  the  gayer  boards. 
There  were  pretty  ladies  of  high  and  low  degree,  fine 
gentlemen  with  fine  mortgages,  famous  heroes  of  the 
oar,  trainers  and  distrainers,  lords  and  their  honourable 
brothers,  and  dramatists  with  and  without  poetry  to 
their  equipment,  to  provide  a  small  romantic  leaven. 

James's  wife  received  them  all  with  an  equal  geniality. 
The  passports  to  these  wonderful  parties  were  beauty 
and  humour.  Without  these  you  were  not  welcome 
nor  indeed  appropriate.  Reginald  Shirley  Brooks, 
possessed  of  both,  profiting  little  by  either,  was  always 
in  evidence  with  many  more  connected  with  John 
Corlett,  Newnham  Davies  the  prize  epicure,  and 
Goldberg,  known  as  "the  Shifter,"  and  Pottinger 

Labouchere,  Arthur  Anderson  and  his  brother 
Percy,  who  later  illustrated  my  most  inadequate  book 
on  Costume,  Cecil  Raleigh,  Herman  Vezin,  Ernest 
Wells  (Swears),  with  oddments  of  different  reputa- 
tions all  crowd  upon  my  mind,  pervaded  with  hilarity, 
good  fellowship,  good  wine  and  good  jokes  not  streaked 
with  blue  or  mauve,  but  allied  to  an  exchange  of  con- 
fidences;  the  popular  fable  of  the  shilling-in-the- 
pocket  millionaire  competing  for  credulity  with  tales 
of  the  play  or  book  achieved  in  a  single  night. 

The  youth  and  inexperience  of  Julia  and  myself 


rendered  us  outside  the  pale,  but  we  were  permitted 
to  intrude  sometimes  with  strict  injunctions  to  leave 
at  eleven,  when  the  more  violent  delights  of  the 
assembly  might  create  in  us  a  false  conception  of  its 
artistic  purpose. 

I  remember  being  there  one  night,  on  sufferance  as 
usual,  and  more  or  less  ill  at  ease  through  my  inability 
to  contribute  anything  towards  the  entertainment.  I 
was  wondering  whether  it  would  not  be  better  to  go 
home  supperless,  when  my  attention  was  caught  and 
held  by  a  tall  figure  standing  aloof  with  pallid  face, 
red  hair  falling  lankly  over  a  high  forehead,  and  man's 
eternal  interrogatory  in  his  light  blue  eyes. 

Whence  had  he  come  to  this  banquet  of  careless 
wits  ?  I  pondered  as  I  glanced  at  him  inquisitively, 
and  questioned  James  to  a  rapid  explanation. 

"  Oh,  that  is  George  Moore,  an  Irishman  from 

It  was  daring  in  those  days,  even  improper  for  any 
but  the  indigenous  to  live  in  Paris. 

"  Rather  a  swell  out  there,"  James  continued  whilst 
he  looked  across  at  him  affectionately.  "  He  matters 
with  the  Art  and  Literature  lot,  haunts  cafes,  is  a  boon 
companion  of  Manet,  thinks  a  deal  of  Zola  and  is  pals 
with  de  Goncourt,  liable  at  any  moment  to  talk  about 
him  or  even  about  Victor  Hugo.  I  don't  think  he  has 
written  much  himself,  but  he  will." 

It  was  obvious  that  George  Moore's  silence  was  not 
due  to  dullness  and  that  he  would  have  little  wish  to 
speak  to  me,  and  I  wanted  so  badly  to  speak  to  someone. 

Cecil  Raleigh,  hovering  in  my  neighbourhood, 
appeared  likely  to  be  a  more  suitable  objective,  and  I 
had  known  him  in  the  early  days  of  Pan,  so  I  ventured, 


rudely  enough,  to  express  to  him  my  distaste  for  mixed 
company  and  my  cherished  conviction  that  the  universe 
had  been  created  for  the  better  classes  of  fastidious 

He  upturned  the  ends  of  his  fat  moustache  de- 
fiantly, and  tucking  his  thin  cigarette  to  the  uttermost 
corner  of  his  mouth,  sniffed  his  characteristic  sniff,  and 
patting  my  shoulder  in  the  paternal  tense,  ordered — 

"  Don't  be  a  fool,  my  girl,  Socialism  is  the  religion 
of  the  future." 

Many  times  I  have  heard  my  father  say  as  he  passed 
James's  hat  upon  the  hall  table,  "  The  head  of  a  size 
to  fit  that,  can  have  no  brains. "  But  he  was  wrong, 
James  was  a  very  clever  man  with  just  a  human  weak- 
ness or  so  to  mar  a  triumphant  career. 

He  would  admit  candidly  that  money  was  his  great 
stumbling-block ;  he  could  never  manage  money. 
Possessed  of  an  erratic  temperament  and  considerable 
generosity,  no  matter  how  much  he  earned,  he  declared 
he  had  never  been  out  of  debt  "  since  he  left  school 
owing  as.  9d.  to  the  sweet  shop." 

I  am  convinced  someone  else  had  the  sweets,  for 
someone  else  was  for  ever  eating  all  James's  sweets. 

He  adventured  on  many  fields — legal,  political, 
sporting,  literary  and  theatrical,  but  he  always  came 
to  the  same  uncomfortable  conclusion  that  he  had  not 
enough  money,  and  he  never  suspected  this  state  to  be 
due  to  his  super-liberality.  As  a  lawyer  he  gave  advice 
freely  to  his  friends  ;  as  a  racehorse  owner  he  indulged 
his  prodigal  proclivities  in  the  world  of  hangers-on  ; 
during  his  editorial  and  play-writing  epochs  he  was 
lavish  in  his  hospitality  and  in  his  benevolence  towards 
his  comrades,  while  his  search  for  "  copy  "  through  the 


door  of  conviviality  led  him  inevitably  down  Carey 
Street  way. 

He  declared  there  was  too  much  civilisation  in 
England  for  any  but  millionaires,  and  he  voiced  his 
belief  that  he  "  had  enjoyed  every  experience  except 
death  and  solvency." 

I,  who  loved  him,  know  that  he  fell  quite  unwillingly 
into  bankruptcy,  although  when  passing  through  the 
attendant  vexations  he  reported  with  characteristic 
irreverence — 

"  Now  I  know  that  my  Receiver  liveth." 

My  mother,  arousing  herself  from  her  misery  to 
console  his  depressed  moments,  would  shroud  his 
weakness  beneath  her  unfailing  love,  and  would  even 
prove  her  unfaltering  belief  in  him  by  making  efforts 
to  go  to  the  rehearsals  of  his  plays  where  she  would 
listen  with  all  credulity  to  his  confidence  in  the  fine 
characters  of  his  heroines  when  off  the  stage. 

She  was  very  modern,  that  brave  mother  of  ours, 
and  broad-minded  beyond  her  period.  She  would 
smile  confidently  at  James's  declarations  of  Miss  X's 
complete  excellence. 

:<  She's  so  good,  mother,"  he  would  emphasise 
when  there  was  no  doubt  whatever  as  to  the  standard  of 
attained  virtue.  More  accurately  James  adjudged  this 
when  he  wrote  later  as  a  curtain  line  which  never  failed 
to  secure  the  laugh  of  its  intention,  "  How  good,  bad 

women  are ! 

I  chuckle  in  remembrance  of  another  subtle  jest  of 
his  when  a  clumsy  Blanche  was  on  the  terpsichorean 
track  : 

"  Let  us  come  and  hear  her  dance,"  he  would 


T-o  face  page  20 


Another  bon  mot  worth  the  record  : 

"  James,"  asked  a  beauty  with  an  eye  to  business, 
"  I  want  my  portrait  painted  ;  which  artist  would  do 
me  justice  ?  " 

He  replied  promptly  with  a  conciliatory  grin, 
"  Louis  Wain  is  the  right  man,  nobody  better,  my 

Growing  to  some  scepticism  of  the  disinterestedness 
of  the  darlings  of  the  gods,  he  would  describe  an 
actress  as  "  a  girl  who  stands  on  the  same  board  every 
evening  thinking  spitefully  of  the  manager  who  pays 
her  salary." 

James  was  responsible  for  some  attempts  to  uplift 
the  form  and  dialogue  of  musical  comedy. 

The  Gaiety  Girl  was  the  first  of  his  series  of  recog- 
nised successes  which  proceeded  to  include  The 
Artist's  Model,  The  Greek  Slave,  The  Geisha,  Floradora, 
The  Girl  from  Kay's  and  half  a  dozen  others,  with  Ser- 
geant Brue,  which  had  the  advantage  of  music  by  Liza 
Lehmann,  a  gifted  artist  who  hangs  on  the  line  in  my 
gallery  of  splendid  women. 

I  sent  James  a  new  novel  once  with  the  query, 
:<  Don't  you  think  this  would  make  a  play  ?  J! 

"  I  am  sure  it  would,  and  a  damned  dull  one,"  he 
made  answer. 

He  was  not  "  a  little  too  witty,"  but  witty  enough 
to  render  his  companionship  supremely  desirable.  I 
obtained  it  gleefully  for  a  short  visit  to  Eastbourne, 
when,  after  running  to  catch  the  train,  I  flung  myself 
panting  into  a  corner  of  the  carriage  to  gasp  : 

"  You  can  write  the  paragraph  which  shall  announce, 
*  She  was  found  dead  with  twopence  in  bronze  in  her 
pocket/  " 


"  Wouldn't  be  true,"  he  laughed  ;  "  I  should  have 
taken  the  twopence." 

"  Life's  a  jest, 
And  all  things  show  it. 
I  thought  so  once, 
And  now  I  know  it." 

are  lines  upon  Gay's  monument  in  Westminster  Abbey. 
James  was  pursued  by  jokes  even  to  the  grave,  where 
on  the  day  of  his  funeral  amongst  the  piled-up  flowers 
was  a  large  open  book  of  violets  with  snowdrops — 
writing,  "  Alas  !  poor  Yorick." 

"  I  never  knew  his  name  was  Yorick, "  said  a  loving 
chorus  girl  as  she  stooped  to  read  this. 

James  died  over-young,  leaving  to  the  merrymakers 
a  legacy  of  quips  generally  quoted  without  inverted 

It  is  many  years  ago,  but  to  me  there  is  an  abiding 
sense  of  the  loss  of  him  ;  he  was  a  dear  fellow  possessed 
of  an  inexhaustible  store  of  chivalrous  affection  for 
women,  and  his  mother  stood  to  him  for  ever  as  the 
best  of  these. 

Our  poor  mother  !  She  would  say  that  she  wished 
she  had  never  had  us  taught  to  write,  the  desire  being 
inspired  as  much  by  James's  tendency  towards  libel, 
as  by  my  sister  Julia's  publication  of  Dr.  Phillips, 
which  fluttered  the  dovecotes  of  Maida  Vale,  rattled 
the  skeletons  in  the  cupboards  and  the  stout  ladies  at 
the  card -tables,  but  never  merited  the  popular  sus- 
picion that  the  hero  was  taken  from  life. 

Many  uneventful  gaieties  of  our  sheltered  girlhood 
had  come  and  gone  when  at  a  party  given  in  the 
neighbourhood  there  shone  a  most  delightful  vision,  a 


slim  young  girl  with  chestnut  hair  enwrapped  in  a 
scarlet  silken  cap,  with  bright  brown  eyes  deep-set 
with  that  pathetic  appeal  which  never  fails  to  find 
answer  in  the  heart  of  man. 

That  little  girl  was  Mary  Moore,  now  to  be  recog- 
nised as  Lady  Wyndham,  widow  of  Sir  Charles  Wynd- 
ham,  the  finest  comedian  who  has  stepped  upon  the 
stage  in  my  time,  to  intone  the  whole  scale  of  love- 
making  with  the  varied  notes  inflected  by  a  convincing 
sincerity  which  brooked  no  denial. 

On  that  first  occasion  of  our  meeting  Mary  Moore 
was  asked  to  sing,  and  sang  a  comic  song  entitled 
"  Did  you  ever  see  an  oyster  walk  upstairs?  "  How 
Mary  Moore  has  followed  the  example  of  that  ascend- 
ing bivalve  and  walked  upstairs  to  the  top ;  how  she 
went  on  the  stage  and  through  the  introduction  of  his 
sister  Mrs.  Bronson  Howard  was  brought  to  Charles 
Wyndham,  ultimately  becoming  his  leading  lady 
and  business  partner  after  many  trials  and  troubles 
bravely  endured,  is  an  oft-told  tale,  though  few  tell  it 

"  As  if  anybody  knew  the  whole  truth  about  any- 
thing," but  so  far  as  regards  Mary  Moore  I  may  be 
written  down  as  an  exception  to  this  rule  of  the  un- 
informed informer  because  she  and  I  have  been  firm 
friends  and  close  neighbours  the  greater  part  of  our 

When  she  was  about  sixteen  she  married  James 
Albery,  doubtless  impelled  by  an  appreciation  of  his 
superior  intelligence  and  education.  I  came  across 
them  together  one  Christmas  Eve  when  we  sat  round 
the  fireside  of  a  mutual  friend,  and  she  gazed  at  him 
with  gleaming,  worshipping  eyes,  whilst  he  told  won- 


derful  ghost  stories  of  his  imaginative  weaving,  and 
right  well  he  told  them  too  !  With  admiration  I  have 
seen  Mary  Moore  bring  up  to  successful  manhood 
the  three  clever  sons  of  James  Albery,  working  indus- 
triously and  always  more  industriously  to  improve 
herself  in  the  art  of  acting,  to  capture  astutely  the  best 
principles  of  theatrical  management,  to  gauge  the  public 
taste,  to  realise  the  righteous  ways  to  promote  her  own 
aims  and  the  good  of  a  profession  which  now  holds 
her  gratefully  as  the  President  of  its  Benevolent 

That  little  brown-eyed  girl  with  no  fortune  save  her 
artless  charm  has  not  attained  easily  to  her  present 
position,  and  no  one  who  has  not  enjoyed  an  intimacy 
with  her  can  appreciate  how  much  in  toil  and  tears 
she  has  paid  for  it,  nor  understand  with  what  unselfish- 
ness she  gave  herself  up  to  shield  Sir  Charles  Wyndham 
from  harm  or  unhappiness  during  his  last  days  when 
he  fell  to  incapability  on  the  saddest  side  of  that  dread 
disease,  aphasia. 

But  in  the  long  years  I  have  happy  recollections 
of  them  both,  and  I  was  often  their  guest  at  supper 
parties  in  the  famous  yacht  room  with  portholes  set 
low  round  the  walls,  and  at  Hyde  Park  Hotel,  where 
Wyndham  held  tremendous  receptions  of  the  exalted 
in  the  world  of  society  which  adored  him. 

Further  proof  of  Sir  Charles  Wyndham 's  good-will 
towards  me  came  when  I  was  asked  to  write  some 
press  paragraphs  for  him,  and  he,  while  paying  me 
an  excellent  salary  for  my  work,  steadfastly  avoided 
any  opportunity  to  give  me  the  material  for  its  con- 
struction. He  turned  any  business  meeting  with  me 
into  the  more  congenial  channel  of  mere  gossip  on 


lighter  things,  with  a  tea  accompaniment.  However,  I 
was  very  pleased  to  be  invited  to  endeavour  to  exhila- 
rate by  my  fun  a  dull  scene  in  a  comedy  he  hoped  to 
present.  In  consultation  over  this  we  spent  two  hours 
whilst  he  taught  me  the  necessity  for  the  short  sentence 
in  stage  dialogue  ;  but  he  decided  against  the  work 
altogether,  and  sent  me  £50  for  his  lesson.  It  was 
inevitable  that  I  should  try  to  write  a  play,  and 
Wyndham  with  Mary  Moore  approved  a  one-scene 
effort,  The  Runaways,  which,  however,  illness  pre- 
vented them  from  acting,  but  in  the  cause  of  some 
charity  Sydney  Brough  and  Gertrude  Kingston  came 
to  the  rescue  of  my  dashed  hopes,  and  I  like  to  record 
how  much  I  found  the  dramatist  can  owe  to  the 
actors.  Every  little  jest  I  had  made  was  magnified  by 
their  art  into  some  importance.  I  had  delivered  duds 
and  they  were  transformed  into  human  beings,  while 
their  "  business,"  omitted  through  my  ignorance  from 
the  scrip,  invested  the  scene  with  a  lively  reality  to 
create  laughter  throughout  and  to  lead  to  many  de- 
mands for  more  presentations,  uniformly  gratis  ! 

Gertrude  Kingston  was  the  first  woman  in  London 
to  build  a  theatre  for  herself.  It  was  under  her 
direction  that  The  Little  Theatre  which  was  to  com- 
bine the  advantages  of  the  small  hall  with  those  of  the 
playhouse  was  erected.  But  it  proved  one  of  the  in- 
stances when  fortune  did  not  favour  the  brave  and  the 
fair,  and  many  vicissitudes  have  since  shown  that 
Gertrude  Kingston  had  set  herself  an  impracticable 
task.  Rather  an  amusing  incident  during  the  early 
days  of  my  friendship  with  Gertrude  Kingston  led  to 
my  introduction  to  her  husband,  a  very  handsome 
fellow,  Captain  Silver, 


On  the  first  night  of  The  Manoeuvres  of  Jane  I  felt  a 
hand  tightly  grasping  my  knee,  and  I  heard  an  em- 
phasised "  Darling  "  in  my  ear. 

"  Unhand  me,  sir,  and  how  dare  you  !  "  being  the 
conventional  acceptance  of  such  conduct,  I  did  not 
offer  it,  but  stared  at  the  offender  who  was  quick  to 

"  I  beg  your  pardon,  but  she  has  just  come  on  the 
stage.  Gertrude  Kingston  is  my  wife,  and  I  was 
thinking  aloud  about  her  ;  do  forgive  me." 

"  Suit  the  action  to  the  word  and  the  word  to  the 
action,"  I  laughed  in  recognising  his  complete  in- 
genuousness, and  we  chatted  amicably  through  the 

Charles  Wyndham  wrote  in  my  autograph  book, 
"  A  good  woman  is  an  understudy  for  an  angel,"  and 
he  forgave  me  my  thanks  underlined  with  "  Do  you 
call  her  often  for  rehearsal." 



MY    first    meeting    with    Mary    Moore    is 
amongst  my  vivid  memories  before  Julia 
and  I   married.     Julia  was  fortunate  in 
securing  for  her  husband  Arthur  Frankau,  the  ideal 
gentleman,    whose    unchangeable    love,    trust     and 
devotion  were  proved  in  their  last  testimony,  "  To  my 
beloved  wife  Julia  I  leave  everything  I  die  possessing." 

My  own  marriage,  brought  about  by  my  desolation 
at  Julia's,  was  not  what  even  my  exaggerated  optimism 
can  write  down  a  success. 

I  have  always  had  the  desire  to  spend  money  ; 
luxuries,  superfluous  to  the  apostles  of  simplicity,  were, 
and  I  may  add,  are  to  me  the  absolute  necessities  of 

I  do  not  want  to  wait  until  May  for  my  strawberries, 
and  I  cannot  read  or  write  in  a  room  that  has  not 
the  right  carpets,  furniture  and  pictures  surrounded 
by  flowers. 

I  must  be  well  dressed,  imitation  lace  on  my  under- 
clothes makes  me  unhappy,  and  when  my  silken  petti- 
coats are  not  Milanese,  and  my  stockings  and  shoes 
not  of  the  highest  birth,  I  feel  a  sense  of  personal 
unworthiness  that  disturbs  my  outlook. 



Being  uncomfortable  myself,  I  become  irritable 
and  unjust  towards  others,  no  longer  amiable,  tolerant 
and  courteous,  but  anarchical,  suspicious  and  ill- 

Such  being  my  mental  calibre,  and  circumstances 
after  my  marriage  having  been  propitious,  it  may  easily 
be  understood  I  did  not  accept  with  equanimity  the 
news  that  my  husband's  business  matters  were  seriously 
involved  and  our  means  reduced  practically  to  a  minus 

Then  I  thought  myself  injured.  Now  I  know  I  was 
only  selfish.  Certainly  I  felt  nothing  in  David 
Aria's  life  so  well  became  him  as  his  leaving  me 
for  South  Africa  five  years  after  I  had  driven  with 
him  from  the  Synagogue  to  hear  his  first  rapture 
expressed  in,  "  I  wonder  what  has  won  the  Lincoln 
Handicap. "  My  David  danced  and  gambled  before 
the  Ark. 

We  spent  our  honeymoon  at  Shanklin,  where  he  read 
and  re-read  the  morning  papers  to  their  final  advertise- 
ment, and  then  watched  for  the  evening  papers  to 
obtain  news  of  the  latest  prices.  I  was  very  bored, 
longing  to  return  to  Julia  and  my  mother,  to  put  my 
house  in  order  and  to  finish  sewing  some  Arabian 
curtains  I  destined  for  the  portiere.  Graves  in  the 
Isle  of  Wight  running  over  with  forget-me-nots  haunt 
me  as  symbols  of  much  that  was  and  more  that 

Had  I  been  older  or  of  more  serious  thought  I  could 
perhaps  have  guided  my  husband  into  some  harbour 
of  safety,  but  I  always  ignored  wilfully  any  hint  of 
trouble,  and  we  were  only  boy  and  girl  together  with 
little  of  real  love  between  us.  His  main  attraction  for 


me  had  been  his  dark  Southern  eyes,  his  gentle  voice, 
his  slenderness  and  his  cheerfulness ;  mine  for  him 
doubtless  was  no  better  based. 

I  soon  found  him  slender  in  many  ways,  in  intellect 
and  in  integrity,  and  even  had  I  been  wiser  nothing 
that  I  might  have  urged  could  have  upset  his  fatal 
belief  that  he  knew  which  horse  would  come  in  first, 
whilst  he  was  confirmed  in  an  immovable  faith  in  the 
protected  sparrow  fable,  a  faith  which  led  him  so 
often  and  so  hopefully  to  take  our  goods  to  the 

"  Who  put  it  in  ? 

Little  Tommy  Green. 

Who  took  it  out  ? 

Little  Billie  Stout." 

But  alas  !  my  husband  never  played  the  part  of  little 
Billie  Stout,  yet  I  would  admit  that  he  was  quite  amiable 
and  invariably  sober,  I  would  ignore  his  fitful  fidelity 
with  his  careless  calculations,  I  would  chronicle  his 
joyous  disposition,  his  kindness  and  his  dexterity  in 
filling  a  hot-water  bottle. 

When  disaster  came  his  idea  was — I  must  in  fairness 
grant  him  an  idea — that  we  should  sell  the  house  and 
its  contents  and  live  in  apartments  whilst  he  looked  for 
another  opening  for  his  talents. 

I  knew  what  that  meant,  for  I  had  a  cousin  who  had 
been  looking  for  an  opening  for  twenty  years  and  living 
upon  the  family  all  the  time,  the  family  making  an 
allowance  as  small  as  it  could,  and  always  threatening 
to  reduce  this  when  a  chef  gave  notice  or  a  tailor  sent  in 
a  bill.  I  knew  the  difficulties  which  beset  a  man 
once  off  the  line  ;  that  he  has  failed  in  his  own 
business  no  matter  for  what  cause  is  no  recom- 


mendation  to  him  when  he  wants  to  manage  someone 

I  insisted  that  a  temporary  separation  would  give  me 
a  better  chance  of  re-establishing  us  together.  I  am 
glad  to  remember  that  neither  of  us  upbraided  the 
other,  but  held  discussions  with  absolute  good  humour 
upon  the  date  of  the  division  which  took  place  a  few 
weeks  later  when,  with  many  demands  for  his  early 
return  and  several  embraces,  I  saw  him  off  to  the  Cape, 
and  came  back  to  my  flat  to  find  it  in  occupation  of  a 
seedy  apologetic  individual  demanding  £29  I2s.  with 
an  alternative  suggestion  of  a  prolonged  residence 
writh  me. 

I  was  alert  to  the  novel  experience  of  such  an  ac- 
quaintance, becoming  at  once  the  pleasant  hostess  with 
an  offer  of  whisky  and  soda. 

"  I  don't  want  to  be  in  your  way,"  he  deprecated, 
"  because  I  was  boot  boy  where  your  husband  went  to 
school,  and  he  was  such  a  nice  fellow,  always  ready 
with  his  shilling  ;  I  wish  you  would  just  settle  this 
account  and  let  me  go." 

I  buckled  on  my  brass-plated  armour  of  bravado. 
"  Certainly  not,  and  you  can  have  no  right  here,  the 
contents  of  these  rooms  are  mine." 

"  You  must  prove  that,  mum." 

;<  I  will  telegraph  to  my  lawyer." 

He  grew  kinder  and  kinder  and  more  confidential 
as  I  poured  out  a  second  and  a  third  whisky,  and 
urged  him  to  a  seat  and  a  cigarette. 

"  I  shouldn't  send  no  wires,"  he  advised,  "  there 
ain't  no  good  in  letting  the  post  office  people  know 
about  your  affairs,  you  can  go  and  see  your  lawyer 
and  I'll  sit  quiet  in  the  kitchen  till  you  come  back." 


Splendid  specimen  of  a  man  in  possession,  where, 
however,  he  was  not  permitted  to  remain.  My 
horrified  mother,  shocked  at  the  outrage,  fetched  the 
experienced  James  who  boasted  an  intimacy  with 
every  bailiff  in  the  metropolis. 

"  Ike,  you  scoundrel,  how  dare  you  annoy  my  sister/' 
and  the  ever-ready  purse  ignoring  the  just  bill  and  all 
against  the  law  promptly  produced  a  sovereign  to 
deport  a  grateful  invader. 

My  story  got  round,  as  such  stories  will,  and  dear 
conventional  relations  came  to  condole  with  me  in  my 
sad  unprotected  position  with  a  little  girl  to  keep, 
doubtless  suspecting  me  of  heartlessness  when  I  smiled 
the  reassurance  that  I  could  look  after  both  of  us. 
Every  woman  can  look  after  herself  until  she  likes  the 
man  who  likes  her. 

My  friends  arrived  in  mournful  numbers,  miscalcu- 
lated to  my  deliberate  attitude  of  a  full  comprehension 
of  my  husband's  schemes,  even  of  my  approval  of 
these  and  my  confidence  of  his  reappearance  with  a 

I  refused  to  be  the  pathetic  object  for  commiseration. 
I  would  not  become  the  fashionable  form  of  philan- 
thropy. I  was  cheaper  than  a  fancy  bazaar,  and  more 
amusing  than  a  charity  concert.  I  protested  I  should 
enjoy  my  freedom  and  profit  by  it.  I  anticipated  with 
satisfaction  an  opportunity  to  cast  off  the  burden  of 
debts  deep-hedged  in  falsehood  which  had  threatened 
to  make  a  happy  existence  impossible. 

"  Amuse  me,  praise  me,  help  me,  but  do  not  pity 
me,"  I  felt  as  I  spoke  with  no  rancour  towards  circum- 
stances which  had  sent  my  best  household  gods  to 
dwell  beneath  the  gleam  of  three  balls,  and  I  was  sure 


that  no  man's  hand  was  against  me  and  that  my  wil- 
derness would  blossom  with  opportunities.  I  might 
be  a  Tea  Association  ?  I  might  keep  a  bonnet  shop  ? 
I  might  become  a  manicurist  ?  a  saleswoman  ?  or  a 
typist  ?  But  as  it  happened  I  followed  none  of  these 
courses,  going  swiftly  along  the  road  indicated  by 
the  sign-post  "  To  writing/'  I  was  happy  enough 
in  my  confidence  to  find  some  means  to  live,  although 
often  when  noting  the  labours  of  others  I  had  declared 
I  could  never  earn  sixpence.  I  have  been  able  to  earn 
many  sixpences,  but  the  first  were  due  to  a  misdirected 
letter  intended  for  my  sister  Julia  already  guiding  her 
pen  to  profit. 


We  shall  be  very  glad  to  hear  from  you  as  to 
your  willingness  to  contribute  weekly  to  the  new 
journal,  Jewish  Society. 

Yours  faithfully, 


The  error  was  hailed  as  from  Providence,  but  I 
bucked  shyly  at  the  start,  so  Julia  to  prod  me  wrote 
the  first  article  and  shamed  me  to  effort  when  the 
cheque  reached  me.  A  couple  of  weeks  later  I  was 
filling  the  allotted  columns  to  the  satisfaction  of  a  not 
too  exacting  editor,  whose  low  standard  no  doubt 
cost  him  and  his  supporters  a  thousand  pounds 
or  so. 

I  wrote  to  my  husband  regularly  for  six  years  ;  his 
rare  replies  assured  me  of  his  content,  of  his  belief  in 
better  things  to  come  and  the  unsatisfactory  condition 
of  the  weather.  My  last  communication  was  returned 


marked  "gone  away,"  and  I  do  not  recall  that  I  ever  gave 
him  another  serious  thought  until  sixteen  years  later 
when,  as  plaintiff,  I  stood  up  in  the  Divorce  Court  to 
identify  his  photograph  whilst  marvelling  that  I  could 
ever  have  imagined  I  cared  for  him.  How  foolish  was 
the  judge  who,  after  considering  my  case  with  the 
information  that  my  delay  in  instituting  it  had  occurred 
through  a  regard  for  the  welfare  of  my  only  daughter 
just  married,  awarded  me  release  "  with  the  custody 
of  the  child." 

To  chance  I  owed  my  further  literary  advance  under 
the  aegis  of  Julia,  who  had  been  summoned  to  the 
office  of  The  Gentlewoman  to  discuss  a  series  of  articles 
on  "  Medicos  under  the  Microscope." 

Whilst  she  was  arguing  with  J.  S.  Wood,  the  editor, 
about  the  best  victims  for  her  purpose,  A.  J.  Warden, 
the  business  manager,  no  doubt  appreciating  the  cut 
of  my  coat  and  the  angle  of  my  hat,  interrogated, 
"  Don't  you  know  anything  to  write  about  ?  " 

I  hazarded  pertly  "  Dress  and  drama  with  drivel 
sauce,"  and  I  was  engaged  at  once  to  serve  these, 
remaining  on  the  staff  of  The  Gentlewoman  for  a  long 
time,  whilst  Willie  Wilde  acted  as  stand-by  to  deliver 
prose  or  poem  immediately  to  order,  and  Malcolm 
Salaman  contributed  his  kindly  views  of  "  Woman 
under  a  Man's  Eyeglass."  Julia  duly  discoursed  on 
Doctors  and  Children,  Mrs.  J.  E.  Panton  threw  some 
new  light  into  the  darkest  domestic  basements,  and  a 
lady  of  swarthy  complexion  advised  on  the  best  use 
of  cosmetics  under  a  pen-name  of  Venus  de  Milo, 
her  large  dark  eyes,  bad  manners  and  drawling  accent 
suggesting  Venus  of  Mile  End  as  a  more  suitable 


I  confess  audaciously  that  my  first  contributions 
were  written  entirely  by  Malcolm  Salaman,  who  is  now 
the  best  recognised  expert  on  all  the  graphic  arts  in 
all  their  states. 

He  was  an  untiring  friend  to  me,  and  I  was  ever 
a  glad  taker  of  service.  He  was  so  anxious  to  show 
his  sympathy  with  my  poor  circumstances  that  to 
improve  these  he  not  alone  learnt  to  spell  passementerie 
but  to  report  its  beaded  proceedings  in  persuasive 
paragraphs.  With  his  help  I  got  along  fairly  well 
towards  my  main  goal  of  a  decent  salary,  A.  J.  Warden 
educating  me  on  the  commercial  side  of  newspapers, 
and  the  value  of  a  personal  visit  to  lead  via  the 
attractive  notice  qf  the  salesman's  wares  to  revenue 
for  the  advertisement  department. 

J.  S.  Wood  and  I  never  became  friends,  and  he 
would  close  an  eye  and  cock  his  head  slightly  on  one 
side  when  I  protested  that  he  did  not  like  me,  while 
he  admitted  : 

"  I  am  always  impressed  by  the  idea  that  whatever 
you  are  doing  and  you  do  very  well  you  are  getting  the 
best  of  us."  But  before  I  left  J.  S.  Wood  I  had  learnt 
to  realise  the  justice  of  his  reputation  as  "  a  capital 
man  at  the  turnstile."  He  was  indeed  the  ideal  keeper 
at  the  gate  which  opens  to  the  field  of  philanthropy, 
and  no  one  worked  harder  than  he  for  the  extension 
of  the  Irish  industries,  and  it  is  to  his  indefatigable 
energies  we  owe  the  Children's  salon  which  has 
endowed  many  cots  in  many  hospitals.  When  our 
connection  was  severed  he  gave  me  a  written  certificate 
of  merit,  but  he  omitted  the  tributary  tray  which  was 
so  blatantly  my  due. 

I  worked  very  hard  supplying  as  many  as  twelve 


thousand  words  a  week  and  travelling  round  the  town 
to  collect  details  for  these.  I  believe  that  my  friendly 
irrelevant  methods  of  interviewing  buyers  and  managers 
did  something  to  revolutionise  what  was  known  as 
Dress  and  Shop  Journalism. 

Once  I  ventured  to  deliver  a  lecture  to  other  writers 
on  fashion  with  a  financial  end.  I  insisted  upon  the 
importance  of  these  approaching  with  respect,  if  at  all, 
the  subject  of  dress.  I  urged  them  to  recognise  that 
they  must  serve  God  and  Mammon,  the  editor  and  the 
advertiser.  I  entreated  a  consideration  for  the  laws  of 
syntax,  recommending  some  study  of  Debrett  in  case 
efficiency  and  presentable  clothes  should  land  them 
at  court  in  Society  to  some  misplacement  of  titles. 
Finally  I  hoped  that  their  language  and  their  in- 
formation might  be  accepted  alike  by  the  lenient 
grammarian,  the  ambitious  milliner  and  the  imposing 
Chamberlain,  perorating  proudly  with  "  Render  unto 
Caesar  that  which  is  Caesar's  and  let  Caesar's  wife  be 
above  suspicion  of  velveteen  if  she  is  wearing  velvet." 

After  such  a  tour  de  force  I  acquired  the  arbitrary 
attitude,  and,  rebelling  against  any  restrictions,  ac- 
cepted an  invitation  to  edit  the  fashion  pages  of  Hearth 
and  Home. 

While  thus  employed  under  the  roof  of  Messrs. 
Beeton  &  Co.  in  Fetter  Lane  I  first  came  across 
Arnold  Bennett.  We  jostled  each  other  in  the  doorway 
of  his  passage  to  the  editorial  chair  in  the  office  of 
Woman,  a  successful  penny  weekly  dispensing  much 
instruction  in  the  arts  of  beauty,  conduct  and  cooking, 
with  little  sops  to  the  taste  of  the  multitude  in  short 
stories  of  avowed  fiction  and  shorter  anecdotes  of 
avowed  facts. 


Arnold  Bennett's  personality  struck  me  at  once  ; 
although  of  nervous,  fidgety  movements,  twisting 
his  watch-chain  and  tossing  back  an  errant  lock 
of  thick  dark  hair,  he  was  a  solid  figure  impressively 
slow  of  speech,  yet  of  an  arresting  power  in  each 

I  should  say  as  I  think  of  him,  that  forceful  concen- 
tration was  his  prevailing  characteristic,  although  his 
fine  brown  eyes  held  other  significance,  and  his  job 
was  to  edit  Woman. 

He  tells  me  now  that  he  asked  me  to  contribute  to 
his  paper  and  that  I  haggled  over  his  price.  I  don't 
believe  a  word  of  this  accusation,  for  I  never  men- 
tioned money,  and  I  am  sure  I  should  have  jumped 
at  the  chance  of  working  for  him.  I  know  I  should 
have  found  him,  as  someone  wrote  of  someone  else, 
"  upright  in  his  praise,  downright  in  his  blame  and 
all  right  in  his  methods/'  A  struggler  on  the  far 
outskirts  of  the  literary  way  could  not  have  failed  to 
push  forwards  with  Arnold  Bennett's  encouragement 
to  guide  her. 

Except  that  the  thick  dark  locks  are  crested  with 
silver,  I  thought  him  little  changed  when  recently 
I  greeted  him  in  his  spacious  flat  at  Hanover  Square, 
where  many  wide  rooms  come  to  typical  conclusion  in 
the  atmosphere  of  The  Old  Wives'  Tale,  accurately 
registered  on  chiffonier,  horsehair-seated  chairs,  lustre 
ornaments  and  repp  curtains.  I  believe  Arnold  Bennett 
grows  younger  and  younger,  and  it  is  good  to  hear 
account  of  him  as  expert  yachtsman  and  to  know  "  he 
is  first  in  the  ballroom  and  last  to  leave  it,  and  he 
dances  supremely  well." 

He  would,  he  always  does  everything  supremely 


well,  even  the  generous  giving  of  his  excellent  photo- 
graph I  craved  for  my  later  pages. 

Whilst  I  was  working  for  Hearth  and  Home  I  con- 
ceived the  notion  that  I  must  possess  and  edit  a  journal 
of  my  own.  Thus  came  into  existence  the  monthly 
magazine  known  as  The  World  of  Dress,  destined  of 
course  to  show  all  other  editors  how  fashion  papers 
should  be  conducted. 

Rabid  reformer  I  thought  myself,  and  fell  as  rabid 
reformers  will,  to  pursue  the  very  policy  I  uprose  to 

A  friendly  syndicate  was  mustered,  and  much 
pecuniary  assistance  came  from  Harry  H.  Marks,  who 
was  then  a  potential  figure  in  finance  with  a  fancy  for 
starting  newspapers.  When  he  promised  to  support 
mine,  he  made  the  strict  proviso  that  he  was  not 
to  be  mentioned  in  connection  with  it,  that  he 
would  have  no  shares  and  no  thanks.  He  protested 
cynically  that  perhaps  I  should  never  speak  ill  of  him 
and  that  this  restraint  should  be  his  reward.  He 
was  an  odd  fellow,  brilliantly  clever,  with  a  deter- 
mination to  fight  everybody  and  win  everything ; 
anxious  to  be  misunderstood  and  attaining  fully  this 
ambition.  In  his  last  years  a  long  illness  left  him 
at  the  mercy  of  many  enemies  he  had  benefited, 
but  none  could  ever  deny  his  courage  nor  his 
eloquence,  and  his  death  found  him  gaily  betting 
upon  its  date. 

The  World  of  Dress  possessed  many  excellent  features 
from  many  excellent  sources.  Fashion  news  from 
Paris,  Vienna  and  New  York,  interviews  about 
dress  with  famous  people.  Sir  James  Linton, 
Sydney  Grundy,  Max  Pemberton,  Mortimer  Menpes, 


Downey,  the  royal  photographer,  and  lastly  and  most 
amusingly  Dan  Leno  gave  opinions.  Casually  Dan 
Leno  declared  that  he  of  all  men  best  understood 
women's  clothes — because  he  had  worn  them  for 
years ;  and  he  knew  all  about  them  from  the  inside ; 
the  property  to  secure  more  laughter  for  him  than 
anything  else  in  his  mirthful  career  being  an  old  wired 
bonnet,  tapped  on  and  tied  with  strings.  Every  time 
it  came  off  he  just  tapped  it  on  a  different  part  of  his 
head,  and  the  audience  roared. 

Costume  was  an  integral  part  of  his  songs,  and  he 
haunted  old  clothes  shops  till  he  found  the  exact 
things  he  wanted,  for  they  must  be  real  to  get  the 
actuality  as  he  saw  it. 

A  constant  contributor  to  The  World  of  Dress  was 
Mrs.  Barry  Pain,  the  most  humorous  woman  I  ever 
knew,  and  she  illuminated  with  originality  as  well 
as  wit  many  occurrences  on  the  clothes-line. 

Her  comic  answers  to  correspondents  included  three 
that  are  unforgettable  : 

Mignonette. — On  no  account  have  it  out ;  bandage 
carefully  with  raw  alpaca  and  eat  only  brown  bread 
and  seccotine. 

Minerva. — You  send  no  name,  no  address  and  no 
questions,  but  I  hope  this  will  find  you  and  tell  you 
all  you  want  to  know. 

Madrigal. — Never  take  the  foot  into  considera- 
tion. Take  threes  in  boots,  twos  in  shoes  and  plenty 
of  cabs. 

But  alas  !  The  World  of  Dress  followed  the  fate  of 
all  journals  conducted  by  the  amateur,  and  I  took  its 



To  face  page  38 


troubles  to  Arthur  Pearson,  who  managed  it  and 
financed  it  liberally  without  much  personal  concern 
in  it.  Arthur  Pearson  was  rather  difficult  of  approach  ; 
he  was  quite  the  busiest  man  I  have  ever  known,  five 
minutes  were  the  extent  of  any  interview  granted  to 
me,  and  during  these  he  would  watch  the  door  for  the 
next  comer  and  answer  the  telephone  to  a  below- 
stairs  clerk,  instructed  perhaps  in  the  value  of  an 
interrupting  bell. 



"  Live,  love  and  laugh,  be  ever  this  your  motto 
To  make  life  lovely  as  a  dream  of  Watteau  ; 
Though  art  and  nature  coax  your  pleasant  hours 
With  pictured  beauty,  books  and  joy  of  flowers, 
Let  still  your  dearest  culture  be  the  grace 
That  makes  your  heart  your  old  friends'  homing-place." 

HOW  vain  of  me  to  print  this  New  Year's 
greeting  written  to  me  by  Malcolm  Salaman, 
but  I  grow  more  and  more  grateful  while  I 
think  how  years  ago  he  laboured  to  promote  my  profit 
and  my  amusement. 

Wherever  I  wandered  as  editor  or  contributor 
I  had  his  comradeship,  and  he  led  me  through 
that  world  of  art  and  letters,  and  up  to  the  firmament 
of  theatrical  stars,  where  I  had  always  wished  to 

He  had  little  difficulty  in  his  pioneering,  for  his 
father's  house  was  amongst  the  most  popular  meeting- 
places  for  the  elect. 

Charles  Salaman,  for  many  decades  a  prominent 
figure  in  the  musical  life  of  London,  is  best  known  now 
as  the  composer  of  many  beautiful  anthems  and  the 
famous  song  he  made  of  Shelley's  "  I  arise  from  dreams 
of  Thee."  Unabashed  I  admit  that  I  never  returned 
to  him  his  copy  of  this  poem  with  marginal  notes  in 



his  own  handwriting.  I  hold  it  amongst  my  treasures, 
together  with  a  birthday  letter  which  declares  that 
although  he  did  not  learn  the  date  from  a  biographical 
dictionary,  I  must  accept  affection  with  his  good 
wishes,  and  he  added,  "  I  specially  congratulate  myself 
upon  being  spared  in  my  old  age  to  write  you  these 
few  lines. " 

He  smiled  his  welcome  upon  me  on  many  occasions 
when  he  would  sit  at  his  piano  and  assure  me  that  he 
"  existed  on  kindness  and  cocoa,"  while  he  deplored 
my  want  of  understanding  of  his  art.  Around  him 
would  gather  in  worship  many  of  the  younger  genera- 
tion. I  recollect  as  one  of  his  special  favourites  Evelyn 
Millard,  a  tall  and  lovely  dark-eyed  girl  wearing  white 
muslin  and  a  pink  rose,  and  reciting  with  that  excellent 
diction  she  had  learnt  from  her  father,  who  was 
professor  of  elocution  at  the  Royal  Academy  of 

Brandon  Thomas  was  another  accepted  friend,  and 
what  a  handsome  Brandon  Thomas  he  was  !  Of  extra- 
ordinary vivacity  and  an  infectious  enthusiasm  for  the 
actors  and  playwright's  art,  for  Whistler's  painting, 
for  the  Artists'  Rifle  Volunteers,  and  showing  always  an 
amiable  readiness  to  sing  to  his  own  accompaniment 
"  The  fine  old  Irish  gentleman." 

Under  the  auspices  of  Malcolm  Salaman  I  found 
Luther  Munday  whilst  he  was  piloting  Lord  Londes- 
borough  through  the  chairmanship  of  the  old  Lyric 
Club,  which  dispensed  much  hospitality  amid  the 
merry  circumstance. 

Such  cheery  times  we  used  to  have  with  Lord  and 
Lady  Londesborough  presiding  over  many  prominent 
representatives  of  the  art  circles.  They  would  respond 


gladly  to  the  call  of  a  specially  chartered  steamer  from 
Westminster  Bridge  to  witness  the  Oxford  and  Cam- 
bridge boat-race  from  the  Club  House  at  Barnes,  with 
a  Guards  band  discoursing  music  all  the  way,  and  the 
Club  servants  dispensing  an  even  more  exhilarating 
accompaniment . 

Lord  Londesborough's  devotion  to  the  turf  and  the 
stage  would  of  course  suggest  an  equally  festive  enjoy- 
ment of  the  Royal  Cup  day  at  Ascot  from  the  top  of  a 
coach  or  an  omnibus  which  would  be  crowded  with 
celebrities,  all  with  very  special  information  from 
special  sources.  I  believe  the  Club  luncheons  at 
Ascot  were  initiated  by  the  Lyric  Club ;  anyhow 
my  social  experiences  under  its  genial  influence,  aided 
and  abetted  by  Luther  Munday,  are  written  down 
amongst  my  joyful  memories  not  entirely  unin- 

To  Malcolm  Salaman  also  I  owe  my  acquaintance 
with  Arthur  Pinero  which  was  inaugurated  at  a  private 
view  at  the  Royal  Academy.  I  often  went  to  Pinero 's 
parties,  where  his  wife  played  hostess  to  everyone  who 
mattered  in  society,  art,  literature  and  the  drama.  It 
was  at  his  house  I  first  saw  Ellen  Terry  off  the 
stage,  and  met  Richard  le  Gallienne,  enjoying  much 
converse  with  him,  for  he  had  been  reading  some 
trivial  article  of  mine  in  the  Daily  Chronicle,  and  my 
ready  vanity  was  flattered  when  he  dropped  into 

On  this  occasion  perhaps  he  did  not "  build  the  lofty 
rhyme/'  but  when  a  poet  wants  to  have  tea  with  you 
his  merest  lilt  is  apt  to  sound  lyrical.  The  incident  was 
so  long  ago  I  don't  believe  I  recall  the  lines  correctly, 
but  their  purport  is  all  right,  and  I  am  sure  that  when  I 


received  them  at  greater  length  they  were  perfect  in 
their  conduct. 

"  Mrs.  Aria  writes 
Every  day  I  see. 
Would  that  she  would  write 
Sometimes  unto  me  : 
If  only  once  a  year 
Just  a  little  card 
Asking  me  to  tea." 

Several  little  cards,  all  eloquent  of  my  appreciation, 
were  despatched,'  and  when  Richard  le  Gallienne  would 
come  to  see  me  I  was  disappointed  if  I  could  glimpse 
no  manuscript  emerging  from  his  coat  pocket. 

He  read  to  me  the  lecture  he  gave  at  the  O.P.  Club 
on  the  simplicities  of  those  who  patronised  the  Empire 
Theatre,  which  Mrs.  Ormiston  Chant  was  endeavour- 
ing to  rescue  from  its  peripatetic  customers.  Whether 
le  Gallienne  was  the  apostle  of  purity  or  of  the  liberty 
of  the  subject  I  cannot  recollect,  but  he  was  an  excellent 
orator  with  the  chin  of  Shelley,  and  he  moved  it  to 
some  fascination,  so  that  rapidly  I  was  installed 
amongst  his  eager  readers,  and  was  enchanted  when  I 
received  a  copy  of  his  Book  Bills  of  Narcissus ,  inscribed 
to  "  A  daughter  of  Eve  with  open  admiration. " 

I  had  become  a  free  lance  in  the  newspapers,  con- 
tributing irregularly  to  half  a  dozen,  and  weekly  to 
Black  and  White,  "  The  Diary  of  a  Daughter  of  Eve," 
which  brought  me  much  entertainment  whatsoever 
king  might  reign.  C.  N.  Williamson,  ever  kindly,  was 
the  first  to  accept  my  work,  and  his  example  was 
followed  by  Oswald  Crawfurd,  who  was  so  splendid 
a  creature  to  look  upon  that  some  envious  observer 
described  him  as  a  whole  procession  in  himself.  He 


looked,  indeed,  like  some  fine  Portuguese  pirate,  an 
all-conquering  hero  well  armed  to  the  task  of  snatching 
possessions  and  pleasure. 

He  showed  me  much  courtesy,  and  it  was  at  his  flat 
in  Queen  Anne's  Mansions  that  I  first  met  Violet  Hunt, 
laurel  leaves  already  blooming  in  her  bright  hair, 
pretty  with  deep-set  purple  eyes,  sprightly  and  eager 
for  experience.  Here,  too,  I  received  cordial  and 
prized  attention  from  Mrs.  Lynn  Linton,  whose  in- 
terest in  me  and  my  work  added  to  my  considerable 

How  vividly  she  comes  back  to  me  with  her  large 
piercing  black  eyes  behind  highly  polished  glasses  and 
her  grey  hair  surmounted  by  a  cap  with  a  lace 

I  shared  two  pleasures  and  one  misfortune  with 
Mrs.  Lynn  Linton  ;  we  both  adored  dress  and  needle- 
work, whilst  we  suffered  alike  from  the  name  of  Eliza. 

On  that  evening  when  she  patted  my  shoulder  and 
asked  where  I  lived  and  expressed  approval  of  my 
articles,  I  was  tongue-tied  and  awkward,  though  not 
blind  to  her  splendid  bearing,  to  her  well-made  black 
satin  dress  with  its  white  satin  waistcoat  overlaid  with 
black  lace  and  jet,  or  to  her  beringed  hands  and  the 
note  of  authority  in  her  voice.  By  me  she  was  respected 
as  headmistress  of  my  craft,  and  whilst  I  listened  to 
her  she  told — how  strange  it  seems  now  to  record  it ! — 
that  she  was  the  first  woman  to  obtain  a  fixed  salary 
on  a  daily  newspaper — I  believe  it  was  the  Morning 
Chronicle — and  that  her  brother  being  shocked  at  such 
proceeding  as  her  evening  visit  to  produce  and  correct 
her  column,  would  accompany  her  to  the  office  and 
remain  there  until  she  was  free  to  be  escorted  home. 


The  traditions  of  John  Cook,  editor,  seem  to  give 
little  occasion  for  such  anxiety,  and  although  there  are 
records  of  quarrels  between  them,  these  could  not  have 
been  very  serious,  for  it  was  under  his  editorship  of 
The  Saturday  Review  that  Mrs.  Lynn  Linton  pilloried 
The  Girl  of  the  Period,  denouncing  and  trouncing  her 
with  a  scathing  persistence  which  brought  a  horde 
of  wild  women  and  tame  men  shrieking  round  her 

One  afternoon  I  was  as  gladly  and  badly  as  usual 
writing  at  my  table  in  my  exalted  flat  in  Maida  Vale 
when  I  found  Mrs.  Linton  at  my  elbow  bonneted, 
cloaked  and  beaming  with  benevolence.  My  servant 
had  not  announced  her  clearly,  if  at  all,  so  that  a 
second  or  two  passed  before  I  could  recollect  the 
name  of  my  obviously  distinguished  visitor,  whom 
I  rose  to  welcome  with  delight. 

"  You  are  surprised  to  see  me,  but  I  have  been  think- 
ing of  you  so  much,  and  I  hear  that  your  husband 
is  in  South  Africa  ;  my  dear/'  she  concluded  im- 
pressively, "  don't  make  his  return  impossible  ;  you 
are  young,  you  are  attractive,  and  you  are  in  the  thick 
of  it,  be  sure  you  take  to  yourself  no  man  friend,  and 
be  sure  that  you,"  she  repeated  it,  "do  not  make  it 
impossible  for  your  husband  to  come  back  to  you." 

I  reassured  the  dear  old  lady  that  my  mother  was 
living  with  me,  that  no  stricter  duenna  could  be 
imagined,  and  that  I  was  really  quite  safe  by  myself. 

She  appeared  much  relieved  by  this  news  of  my 
mother,  while  she  hinted  to  me  of  her  own  sad  ex- 
periences which  she  trusted  I  would  escape.  She  was 
immensely  kind  ;  what  a  dull  idiot  I  was  not  to  tax 
that  kindness  by  drawing  upon  her  personal  knowledge 


of  Walter  Savage  Landor,  Carlyle,  Charles  Voysey, 
Coventry  Patmore,  Dickens,  Thackeray  and  Ruskin, 
while  I  might  also  have  gleaned  her  real  opinion  of 
Mary  Evans  who  became  George  Eliot. 

She  stayed  with  me  only  a  very  few  moments,  but 
begged  me  to  go  and  see  her  on  Saturdays,  when  I 
knew  she  held  a  court  of  great  contemporaries  and 
smiled  upon  all  young  seekers  after  fame.  Many  years 
later  I  did  hazard  a  proposition  to  interview  her,  and 
I  felt  so  guilty  of  my  tactlessness,  when  she  wrote  to 
me  from  Malvern,  where  she  had  gone  to  rest  from 
her  strenuous  town  labours. 

*  What  have  I  ever  done  to  you  in  this  life  or  a  former 
that  you  should  want  to  open  the  door  of  a  mental 
torture  chamber  ?  You  should  realise,  for  you  have 
imagination,  all  that  goes  to  my  memory  "  are  just  a  few 
words  I  venture  to  extract  from  that  letter  which 
ended  "  don't  think  me  an  unmitigated  wretch,  but 
give  me  an  inch  of  your  charity. " 

I  gave  her  a  mile  of  my  repentance  at  having  dared 
to  disturb  her  badly  wanted  peace. 

The  fortune  of  the  gregarious  is  as  the  fortune  of 
the  snowball,  and  the  collection  of  acquaintances 
increases  naturally  as  entertainments  are  given  and 

"  So  pleased  to  have  met  you,  and  I  hope  you  will 
come  and  see  me  !  "  the  proposal  materialises  at  a 
luncheon  or  a  tea,  and  there  is  another  added  to  the 
list  who  may  forward  a  bunch  of  pink  roses  or  a  cross 
of  chrysanthemums  as  gay  or  grave  occasion  may 
demand.  There  may  be  a  falling  from  worship  of 
men,  of  babies  or  of  Pekingese,  but  all  women  agree 
in  adoring  flowers.  I  have  ever  been  more  or  less  of 


a  floral  depot,  inclining  most  affectionately  towards 
white  lilac,  a  widely  known  fact  which  was  wont  to 
induce  an  inquisitive  to  greet  these  flowers  on  my  table 
with  "  Who  is  in  the  white  lilac  stage  now  ?  " 

It  was  to  Mrs.  Lynn  Linton's  Saturday  At  Homes 
I  owed  my  first  introduction  to  Madame  Novikoff, 
whose  advent  into  the  political  world  had  evoked 
varied  comment. 

Madame  Novikoff  had  much  endowment  for  her 
work  of  reconciling  the  interests  of  old  Imperial  Russia 
with  those  of  advancing  Liberal  England,  where  W.  E. 
Gladstone  was  Prime  Minister  to  her  encouragement ; 
and  her  pen,  her  personality  and  her  knowledge  secured 
for  her  many  detractors  and  the  triumph  of  the  dislike 
of  Lord  Beaconsfield,  who  nicknamed  her  M.P.  for 

But  history  and  memoirs  record  her  indefatigable 
labours,  her  interest  in  the  education  and  the  im- 
proved condition  of  her  people,  her  successes,  her 
failures,  the  protests  of  her  partisans  and  the  accusa- 
tions of  her  slanderers.  If  you  turn  over  the  pages  of 
The  Pall  Mall  Gazette  and  other  publications  you  can 
read  under  the  signature  of  O.K.  her  strenuous  argu- 
ments, her  reasonable  and  unreasonable  contentions, 
and  you  will  appreciate  her  tenacity  of  purpose  while 
you  can  glimpse  into  the  deeps  of  her  desires  and  marvel 
at  the  heights  of  her  achievement.  She  came  of  a 
fighting  family  and  was  a  brave  soldier  in  the  battle, 
her  pen  was  her  sword  dipped  in  diplomacy,  and  she 
was  not  reluctant  to  apply  vehemence  if  necessary  to 
press  her  point. 

Madame  Novikoff  is  the  only  Russian  lady  I  have 
ever  known,  though  some  have  acted  to  my  enlighten- 


ment  and  others  have  danced  into  my  speculations. 
We  became  neighbours  long  after  I  first  had  sight  of 
her  at  Mrs.  Lynn  Linton's,  where  the  crowd  pressing 
forward  to  see  her  prevented  any  but  a  very  short 

Her  sought-after  entertainments  impeded  the  traffic 
from  the  park  railings  to  a  quarter  of  the  way  down 
Harley  Street.  Here  was  a  polyglot  mingling  of  many 
classes  from  many  countries.  Madame  was  more 
tolerant  at  home  than  on  paper,  and  she  spoke  fluently 
in  four  languages.  Statesmen  and  nobles  invaded  her 
along  with  the  painters,  players,  musicians,  propa- 
gandists and  priests.  She  had  insight  into  the  needs 
of  them  all,  while  she  was  ultra-keen  to  succour  the 
cast  down,  and  her  knowledge  of  the  best  method  to 
do  this  was  no  less  profound  than  her  desire  to 
exercise  it. 

Notwithstanding  her  generosity  in  word  and  deed, 
there  was  always  an  atmosphere  of  dignity,  even  of 
austerity  in  her  surroundings,  and  some  ceremonious- 
ness,  unusual  in  private  houses  in  England,  served  to 
enhance  this  effect. 

In  the  lobby  of  her  hall  you  would  write  your 
name  in  a  book,  and  entering  the  library  you  would 
bend  the  knee  to  a  holy  picture  which  extends  from 
ceiling  to  mantelpiece,  and  gaze  with  some  reverence 
at  two  Tintorettos  on  the  near  wall  before  you  walked 
up  the  polished  stairs  to  the  reception-room  with  its 
significant  contents,  centred  by  a  glass-topped  table 
containing  mementoes  of  W.  E.  Gladstone. 

It  has  been  said  that  Madame  Novikoff  was  the  cause 
which  brought  to  unpunctuality  that  rigid  observer  of 
the  rules  of  time.  After  a  conference  in  St.  James's 


Hall  he  had  armed  her  through  the  Green  Park  to 
Claridge's,  and  thus  deferred  a  dinner  hour  for  a 
hungry  and  protesting  company. 

Fully  conscious  of  my  weakness  of  light  outlook  and 
casual  observance  which  made  me  an  unsteady  thinker 
and  rash  talker,  Madame  Novikoff  accorded  me  some 
intimacy,  and  took  some  interest  in  my  frivolous 
work  and  in  my  daughter's  attempts  at  acting. 

She  would  beg  me  to  understand  she  counted  dress 
of  considerable  importance  ;  she  would  interrogate  me 
about  French  fashions  and  new  jewellery,  while  I  was 
aware  my  knowledge  of  Cartier  might  be  equalled  by 
hers  of  Cellini ;  and  she  would  give  me  a  chance  to 
look  into  her  deep  cedar  closet  lined  with  sumptuous 
sables,  and  I  would  grow  audacious  to  the  point  of 
discussing  the  white  bear  as  a  stole  rather  than  as  a 
symbol  of  a  great  kingdom.  She  had  an  ineradicable 
dislike  for  Jews,  which  she  proclaimed  in  my  hearing, 
so  that  I  confessed  my  origin  and  my  faith,  upholding 
my  pride  in  these. 

She  took  my  hand  soothingly,  but  bending  her 
sternest  expression  upon  me,  she  came  to  an  arbitrary 

"  My  dear,  you  cannot  be  Jewish  any  longer,  upon 
that  religion  has  been  built  a  better,  and  you  must 
adopt  it." 

She  would  not  hear  of  my  sincere  conviction,  for  at 
that  moment  she  was  almost  angry  with  her  beloved 
son,  the  Governor  of  Baku,  because  he  had  drawn  a 
good  Jew  in  his  book. 

She  moderated  her  condemnation  after  his  death, 
when  the  Jews  joined  the  Russians  in  erecting  a  monu- 
ment in  his  memory  ;  but  she  never  became  reconciled 


to  my  belief,  and  "  You  must  not  be  a  Jewess/'  she 
averred  when  she  offered  for  my  acceptance  and 
meditation  a  pamphlet  entitled  "  Christ  or  Moses — 
Which  ?  "  She,  however,  admitted  the  following  con- 
ciliatory dictum  of  Professor  Michaud  : 

"  From  a  habit  of  detesting  the  Jews,  people  are 
sometimes  brought  to  depreciate  Judaism  and  ascribe 
to  it  almost  materialistic  doctrines.  Judaism  is  cer- 
tainly not  Christianity,  but  neither  is  it  materialism. " 

Madame  had  desired  to  investigate  the  assertion  of 
Mr.  Lucien  Wolf  that  the  teaching  of  Judaism  is 
spreading.  He  wrote  :  "  This  virtual  assumption  that 
the  limits  of  human  knowledge  can  extend  no  farther 
than  those  of  the  visible  world  appears  to  me  to  be  the 
central  idea  of  Judaism."  But  her  intention  which 
crystallised  to  publication  was  not  unanimously  ap- 
proved, and  some  dissenters  went  so  far  as  to  accuse 
her  of  heresy,  and  Gladstone  had  answered  her  appeal 
for  judgment. 

She  granted  me  permission  to  publish  a  letter  of 
his.  Modestly,  I  take  a  very  small  portion. 


I  do  not  see  why  the  word  '  heresy  '  should  be 
flung  at  you.  Heresy  is  a  very  grave  matter,  and  should 
not  be  charged  except  in  cases  where  not  only  the  sub- 
ject-matter is  grave  but  also  the  whole  authority  of  the 
Church  or  Christian  community  has  been  brought  to 
bear.  I  conceive,  however,  that  the  question  of  Jewish 
opinion  on  a  future  state,  as  opened  in  the  Old  Testa- 
ment, is  a  question  quite  open  to  discussion.  My  own 
state  of  information  is  by  no  means  so  advanced  as  to 
warrant  the  expression  of  confident  and  final  conclu- 


sions.  But  I  think  there  are  some  things  that  are  clearly 
enough  to  be  borne  in  mind.  We  cannot  but  notice 
the  wise  reserve  with  which  the  Creeds  treat  the  sub- 
ject of  future  state.  After  the  period  when  they  were 
framed,  Christian  opinion  came  gradually,  I  believe, 
to  found  itself  upon  an  assumption  due  to  the  Greek 
philosophy,  and  especially  to  Plato,  namely,  that  of  the 
natural  immortality  of  the  human  soul.  And  this 
opinion  (which  I  am  not  much  inclined  to  accept) 
supplies  us,  so  to  speak,  with  spectacles  through  which 
we  look  back  upon  the  Hebrew  ideas  conveyed  in  the 
Old  Testament. 


During  the  last  few  months  I  have  sought  and  found 
Madame  Novikoff,  still  in  Brunswick  Place,  a  shy, 
retiring  house  in  a  shy,  retiring  corner  of  Regent's 
Park,  where  she  was  in  excellent  spirits  and  a  no  less 
excellent  black  velvet  gown,  grey-capped  in  tasselled 
wool.  She  was  erect  at  the  table,  her  hands  yet  busy 
in  service  for  her  beloved  Russia.  Her  immobile 
features  so  characteristic  of  her  descent  from  "  the 
magnificent  Muscovite  "  are  deeply  lined  with  sorrow, 
but  she  is  upright  in  her  bearing,  if  slow  in  her  move- 
ments, and  as  she  observed,  laughingly  suiting  her 
words  as  ever  to  her  listener  : 

!<  If  my  morals  were  as  weak  as  my  legs  my  friends 
would  deny  my  acquaintance." 

It  was  inevitable  that  I  should  ask  her  for  a  bone  of 
her  biography,  should  demand  a  reminiscence  or  so  of 
the  departed  giants  who  had  been  her  friends. 

1  Tell  me  about  Bismarck." 

"  How  can  I  when  I  only  saw  him  once  ?  " 


"  Of  Queen  Victoria/* 

"  She  received  me." 

"  Of  Tsar  Nicholas  I." 

"  I  was  his  goddaughter,  and  he  was  ever  gracious  to 


!  Of  Skoboleff." 

"  A  martyred  hero." 

"  Of  Verestchagin." 

"  Splendid  patriot  who  died  in  the  arms  of  war,  his 
fervid  obsession." 

"  Of  Tyndall,  of  Froude,  of  Carlyle,  of  King- 
lake  ?  " 

:<  I  will  tell  you  a  story  to  amuse  you.  Kinglake  was. 
you  are  aware,  of  no  religion,  and  I  was  always  structc 
by  his  courageous  outspokenness  on  this.  He  said 
once  to  me,  '  I  am  a  heathen,  I  dislike  churches,  and 
had  I  my  way  I  would  write  on  every  chapel, 
church  and  cathedral  only  one  line,  "  Important — 
if  true."  '" 

"  But,"  she  said,  "  I  feel  too  much  to  talk  of  my 
old  friends.  I  will  give  you  a  maxim  : 

"  One  lives  not  where  one  dwells  but  where  one 
loves  "  ;  and  she  continued,  "  I  belong  to  two  coun- 
tries, but  I  have  only  one  nationality,  and  I  shall  never 
desert  it." 

Yet  I  coaxed  her  to  confess  that  she  grows  more  and 
more  conservative  ;  and  so  she  fare  welled  me,  "  I  am 
glad  to  see  you,  but  in  writing  of  me  I  beg  that  your 
favour  may  not  make  me  ridiculous." 

I  went  out  into  the  gloom  of  Marylebone  Road  to 
these  parting  words  while  feeling  conscious  that  Lord 
Melbourne  was  wise  in  his  generation  when  he  urged 
that  religion  should  not  be  allowed  to  pervade  the 


sphere  of  private  life,  and  I  dared  to  restore  myself  to 
my  normal  triviality  by  a  remembrance  of  the  old,  old 
tale  of  the  negress  when  rebuked  for  her  determination 
to  wed  with  a  Chinaman.  "  You  must  not  do  it, 
Sarah,  think  what  your  children  will  be." 

!<  I  don't  care  if  they'se  Jews,"  defied  the  valiant  if 
vague  ethnologist. 



WHILST  I  was  pursuing  my  lesser  indus- 
tries with  a  sufficiency  of  success  to 
appease  the  butcher  and  soothe  the 
dressmaker,  Julia  was  passing  through  those  various 
phases  of  vexation  and  disappointment  inevitably  to 
the  novelist  of  earnest  purpose.  Whether  the  public 
cheered  or  Fleet  Street  damned,  she  herself  was  never 
satisfied,  never  attaining  her  own  standard,  and  she 
would  always  laugh  at  my  assertion  that  her  last  was 
the  best  book  she  or  anyone  else  had  ever  written. 
My  extravagant  praise  did  not  provoke  any  belief  in 
herself,  though  it  confirmed,  to  her  derision,  my 
prejudice  in  her  favour. 

The  reception  of  Dr.  Phillips  had  brought  as  much 
annoyance  as  pleasure.  The  Babe  of  Bohemia  included 
some  misinterpretation  of  the  Salvation  Army  with  a 
comprehension  of  the  thirsty  habits  of  journalists, 
which  contributed  in  a  measure  to  its  condemnation, 
although  in  no  way  detracting  from  the  extent  of  its 
popularity.  I  am  uncertain  as  to  which  volume  fol- 
lowed the  other,  and  of  the  date  of  the  interregnum 
occupied  by  works  of  Art,  but  I  know  when  disconcert- 
ing blame  fell  upon  her,  for  The  Sphinx's  Lawyer, 
written  to  defend  the  undefendable  Oscar  Wilde,  and 



some  other  work  of  hers,  had  failed  to  meet  the  critical 
estimation  she  thought  its  sincerity  deserved,  she 
decided  she  would  retire,  she  would  be  ruled  out,  she 
could  not  bear  to  be  misunderstood,  she  would  not  lay 
herself  open  to  such  chance,  she  never  wrote  a  line 
that  was  not  of  humanity  she  had  felt  and  observed,  it 
was  recognition  of  her  honesty  as  an  artist  she  desired , 
she  vowed  she  would  write  no  more  novels  for  ten  years. 

But  ever  Julians  books  were  triumphant  in  achieving 
public  favour ;  some  great  imagination  going  to  the  in- 
genious murder  by  morphia  of  the  wife  in  Dr.  Phillips  ; 
no  little  prophecy  of  the  coming  of  communal  living 
in  Joseph  in  Jeopardy  ;  and  great  skill  in  combining 
the^financial  with  the  fighting  aspect  of  the  Boer  War 
in  Pigs  in  Glover,  wherein  the  death  of  the  paralysed 
mother  is  surely  epic. 

Happily  the  cash  point  of  her  ten  years'  abstinence 
vow  did  not  trouble  her.  She  had  more  money  than  she 
needed  for  herself,  and  she  gave  with  an  open-handed- 
ness  supposed,  by  man  only,  to  be  an  attribute  of  man 

Julia's  spirits  were  always  splendid,  even  as  her 
vitality  and  her  energy  which  overruled  every  condi- 
tion ;  and  like  all  perfectly  healthy  people  she  was  con- 
vinced that  physical  weakness  was  under  the  control 
of  the  sufferer. 

My  numerous  ailments — affectionate  relatives  had 
labelled  me  "  not  strong  " — found  her  incredulous, 
and  although  she  filled  my  room  with  roses  and  my 
sideboard  with  peaches,  she  was  for  ever  chaffing 
me  with  a  likeness  to  "  poor  Anne,"  presented  by 
Richardson,  as  the  delicate  member  of  a  whole  family 
and  outliving  the  lot  of  them. 


Alas  !  the  similarity  threatens  to  be  true. 

For  all  the  characters  in  Julia's  books  she  preferred 
living  models,  and  she  took  them  unconscionably.  I 
have  served  a  dozen  times,  often  in  a  most  unfavourable 
light,  she  had  no  respect  for  my  morals  in  print,  did 
not  hesitate  to  laugh  at  my  pathetic  symptoms  of  ill- 
ness, and  had  condemned  my  only  daughter  to  a  heart- 
rending decease  at  the  age  of  five.  It  was  as  inevitable 
that  others  should  think  such  conduct  indecorous  as 
that  I  should  find  it  merely  amusing. 

I  always  thought  Julia's  greatest  gift  lay  in  her  power 
to  extract  tears  ;  no  sofa  scene  of  passion,  and  she  gave 
us  many,  produced  the  sense  of  reality  engendered  by 
her  tales  of  little  children,  of  bereft  mothers,  of  stricken 
wives,  or  of  the  approach  of  death.  She  never  failed 
to  produce  tears  when  she  was  trying  to  do  so. 

She  was  a  flagrant  sentimentalist  although  pleased 
to  imagine,  except  with  her  own  children  whom  she 
adored,  that  her  best  fitting  mantle  was  well  faced  with 

During  the  time  she  refrained  from  writing  novels 
she  did  not  remain  idle  ;  having  started  a  small  col- 
lection of  eighteenth-century  engravings  of  mezzotint 
and  stipple,  she  particularly  favoured  the  English 
stipple  colour  prints,  and  because  no  book  existed 
telling  her  what  she  wanted  to  know  about  them,  she 
set  to  work  and  wrote  one.  It  cost  her  years  of  study 
and  infinite  labour — she  never  learnt  quickly — but  it 
was  a  sumptuous  affair,  Messrs.  Macmillan  saw  to 
that,  and  the  collectors  gave  it  cordial  welcome.  She 
followed  this  with  the  lives  of  John  Raphael  Smith 
and  of  James  and  William  Ward  the  mezzotint  en- 
gravers, falling  back  to  novel  writing,  with  a  romantic 


excursion  in  biography,  Nelson's  Legacy,  the  heroine 
being  no  other  than  Emma  Lady  Hamilton,  with 
whose  story  she  delighted  to  tamper  in  her  favourite 
eighteenth  century,  while  she  adorned  her  pages  with 
many  reproductions  of  the  Emma  portraits  by  Romney. 

I  shared  Julia's  intense  love  of  pictures,  and  during 
her  studies  for  material  for  her  Art  books  I  would 
wait  happily  enough  with  her  for  hours  while  she 
hunted  in  the  Print  Room  of  the  British  Museum. 

It  was  long,  however,  before  I  managed  to  induce  her 
to  understand  my  infatuation  for  the  playhouse  and 
the  players,  although  she  went  on  the  Committee  of 
the  Independent  Theatre,  which  was,  I  believe,  the 
first  of  all  London  societies  formed  for  the  improve- 
ment of  the  drama.  Here  she  divided  her  privileges 
of  administration  with  George  Moore  and  Frank 
Harris,  while  J.  T.  Grein  was  chairman,  and  the 
record  of  the  first  season  includes  the  presentation  of 
Widowers'  Houses,  Ghosts  and  The  Strike  at  Arlingford, 
the  last  being  written  by  George  Moore  who  was 
already  an  established  intimate  of  ours. 

But  Julia  had  little  concern  for  the  programmes, 
showing  far  more  in  the  subsequent  supper  parties  at 
her  house  where  many  would  meet  to  debate  hotly  on 
Ibsen  and  Bernard  Shaw,  and  here  I  greeted  amongst 
notable  others  Ada  Leverson,  novelist  and  brilliant 
wag,  and  always  ready  with  some  amusing  tale  to  prove 
such  virtue.  There  was  one  elderly  relation  of  hers 
whose  doings  on  her  tongue  never  failed  to  produce 
laughter  ;  she  would  describe  him  as  the  model  of 
good  manners,  "  never  even  being  rude  to  the  gover- 
ness/' She  invented  a  race  of  Anglo-aliens,  described 
Lady  X's  parties  as  being  mixed  as  any  Russian  salad, 


and  it  was  she  who  discovered  a  footlight  favourite  "  who 
looked  like  a  lady  on  the  stage  and  an  actress  off  it." 

Catching  sight  of  me  alone,  she  insisted  I  was  the 
only  woman  to  supply  a  new  design  for  a  gown  to 
be  dedicated  conveniently  to  the  rendezvous.  Her 
golden  hair  and  her  violet  eyes  of  earnest  depth  were 
assets,  and  she  flirted  alluringly  with  confession  of 
enterprises  she  would  not  have  dreamt  of  undertaking. 
She  was  delicately  elusive  in  her  methods,  and  her 
airy  nothings  crystallised  to  wit  as  she  spoke  them  in 
her  gentle  voice  ;  she  was  reputed  of  half  a  dozen 
serious  romances  and  twice  as  many  little  intrigues, 
while  Punch  owed  to  her  many  excellent  jokes,  and 
there  was  no  doubt  whatever  of  her  attractiveness. 

Arthur  Symons  was  of  the  many  distinguished  in 
those  crowds  at  Julia's,  a  tall,  delicate  young  man  of 
shaven  chin  and  light  eyes,  whose  bearded  picture  by 
Augustus  John  now  holds  so  hauntingly  the  spiritual 
essence  of  him. 

He  yielded  me  the  compliment  of  a  small  poem.  I 
am  abnormally  proud  of  it  for  immortalising  my  gown 
of  pale  yellow  brocade  with  flowing  sleeves  of  golden 



*>  "  She  sits  in  a  gown  of  gold 

On  the  floor  by  the  fire  a-cold, 
Wings  of  gold  outspread 
(Sleeves  you  may  say  instead). 
And  the  firelight  flushes  a  light 
On  a  faultless  shoulder's  white, 
Caressing  a  cheek  that  glows 
From  a  lily  into  a  rose. 
She  sits  by  the  fire  a-cold 
A  queen  in  a  gown  of  gold. 

A.  S." 


page  58 


If  Frank  Harris  were  of  the  company,  and  this  was 
often  the  case,  he  would  remain  after  the  other  guests 
had  departed,  and  I  was  ordered  to  sit  to  attention 
with  Julia  while  he  read  us  some  short  prose  stories  or 
related  tales  of  buccaneering  adventure  in  America .  He 
wrote  and  read  very  well,  and  perhaps  it  was  churlish 
to  feel  tired  after  3  a.m.  and  to  go  to  bed  wondering 
how  he  had  effected  the  burials  of  the  various 
waiters  he  had  shot  for  delay  in  attending  to  his 

Julia  took  some  pleasure  in  his  deep  husky  voice  and 
had  an  immense  opinion  of  his  narrative  powers,  while 
she  had  always  a  great  predilection  for  parties  con- 
vened on  any  excuse,  for  idle  gossip,  or  to  exploit  a 
new  cook,  or  as  a  prelude  to  the  card  table,  or  mainly 
diplomatic  for  the  advancement  of  some  well-deserving 
creature  or  cause.  She  introduced  proudly  the  merits 
of  a  mound  of  ice  inset  with  sweetmeats  and  served 
with  boiling  cherry  brandy  under  the  name  of 
"  Paragraph  Pudding." 

From  one  of  her  dinners  thus  endowed,  two  per- 
sonages stood  and  sat  to  my  special  interest,  and 
although  there  is  no  excuse  whatever  to  imbue  them 
with  the  venal  spirit,  and  perhaps  they  hated  ice  pud- 
ding, I  am  sure  they  will  both  be  honoured  by  the 
printed  association  with  each  other. 

Mrs.  Belloc  Lowndes  enters  as  a  very  distinctive 
figure  with  the  bloom  of  1840  to  the  credit  of  her 
simply  parted  hair,  her  fichued  shoulders,  her  intensely 
feminine  face  almost  childlike  in  its  rounded  curves 
and  rose-leaf  complexion,  her  glinting  eyes  and  her 
tiny  teeth,  which  looked  as  if  they  would  bite  the  good 
and  bad  out  of  everything. 


She  irradiated  amiability,  the  slight  roll  to  her  "  r  " 
giving  hint,  with  her  blue  and  pink  dress,  of  her  French 
education,  further  emphasised  by  her  vivacity  and 
underlined  by  her  gay  grace.  I  knew  her  at  once  as 
an  admirer  of  Julia's,  whilst  watching  her  delight  in 
whatever  audacity  "  Frank  Danby  "  was  uttering  to 
create  laughter  and  spread  the  merry  atmosphere 
essential  to  parties. 

Mrs.  Belloc  Lowndes  remained  Julia's  admirer, 
asking  and  receiving  from  her  always  an  appreciation 
of  her  many  books  and  a  considerable  comprehension 
of  her  ambition  and  of  the  skill  and  work  which  went 
to  attain  it. 

Coupled  with  the  name  of  Mr.  Walkley,  I  hailed  her 
with  no  reason  in  my  coupling,  save  that  they  sat 
opposite  to  me  during  dinner. 

I  had  much  respect  for  A.  B.  W.,  who  was  then  a 
secretary  at  the  Post  Office,  and  a  star  feature  in  the 
Star  newspaper,  where  he  had  by  his  literary  style  and 
classical  knowledge  altered  the  whole  method  of 
writing  about  the  stage  which  he  showed  tendency  to 
indulge  with  humour  as  indicated  by  Aristotle. 

Dignity  went  ever  to  Mr.  Walkley  with  a  deliberate 
reserve  ;  I  knew  him  of  academic  honour,  and  I  felt 
shy  of  him  and  so  wavered  in  my  determination  to 
speak  to  him,  even  whilst  I  was  observing  that  he  was 
genial — definitely  genial — in  his  attitude  towards  a 
pretty  neighbour  who  was  appealing  to  my  sense  of 
costume  in  black  silk  and  ermine  with  a  pink  rose  at 
her  waist. 

Perhaps  he  had  sent  her  that  pink  rose  and  eleven 
like  it  ?  I  wondered.  There  was  little  reason  I  should 
not  address  Mr.  Walkley  ;  as  sister  of  his  hostess  it  was 


obviously  my  duty  to  do  so,  I  argued,  while  trying  to 
catch  his  eye  to  prelude  the  audacity. 

The  pretty  lady  dropped  her  pink  rose,  by  accident 
or  design  I  do  not  know,  and  the  signal  for  the  drawing- 
room  synchronised  to  leave  me  undecided.  But  what 
woman  wants  held  the  usual  sequel  of  divine  co-opera- 
tion, and  half  an  hour  later  I  was  arguing  with  Mr. 
Walkley  about  actresses,  and  his  excuse  for  having 
expressed  a  conviction  that  a  critic  does  his  work 
better  if  the  beguiling  beauties  behind  the  footlights 
withheld  themselves  from  his  acquaintance. 

I  wonder  if  Mr.  Walkley  might  have  been  included 
in  my  intimate  friends  to  this  day  if  I  had  not  offered 
him  a  boiled  chop  for  luncheon  on  a  dull  morning ;  his 
taste  is  unimpeachable,  and  he  might  have  liked  me, 
but  he  could  never  have  accepted  my  cook.  I  know 
that  now,  whilst  I  comprehend  that  a  cordon  bleu  or 
even  a  heroine  inspired  by  Beeton  may  prepare  many 

How,  when,  or  why  it  happened,  I  regret  his  aliena- 
tion, for  I  am  aware  A.  B.  W.  can  be  a  charming  com- 
panion to  women,  betraying  considerable  intelligence 
about  their  clothes  and  declaring  that  he  likes  Fashion 
because  it  is  so  absurd.  In  his  latest  book,  Pastiche 
and  Prejudice,  where  he  is  convicted  as  delightful 
essayist,  he  confesses  to  a  close  observance  when  he 
propagates  his  protest  against  the  enforced  square  patch 
in  the  heel  of  the  finest  silk  stocking. 

However,  when  not  at  his  work  he  is  to  be  found 
most  frequently  at  the  Garrick  Club,  and  I  am  re-pos- 
sessed by  my  consciousness  of  his  reserve  and  the  fact 
that  he  is  the  most  precious  ornament  of  The  Times, 
so  that  I  dread  his  gentle  irony  while  I  venture, 


*  Why    should    you    not  write   a   foreword   to   my 
book  ?  " 

Of  course  Mr.  Walkley  never  dreams  I  shall  have 
sufficient  courage  to  publish  the  amusing  and  most 
chivalrous  argument  he  sends  against  any  such 

"  Write  a  foreword  to  your  book  ?  Not  if  I  know 
it  !  And  that  is  the  point :  I  don't  know  it,  I  don't 
know  what  your  book  is  to  be.  Mainly  fiction,  I  guess  : 
and,  so  far  as  your  threatened  allusion  to  myself  is 
concerned,  I  am  sure  no  allusion  can  tell  the  truth 
about  me.  The  dark  and  dangerous  deeps  of  a  com- 
paratively simple  life  are  not  thus  to  be  fathomed. 
You  think  you  know,  but  you  don't,  and  never  did, 
and  it  doesn't  matter  because  what  you  think  you  know 
you  daren't  print,  so  by  all  means  substitute  a  de- 
liberate but  printable  fiction  as  you  will.  But  don't 
let  that  deter  you  from  being  reasonably  (however 
fictitiously)  indiscreet  about  your  other  faithful  if  less 
fascinating  friends.  Poor  dears  !  I  look  forward  to 
reading  about  them  with  a  pleasure  wholly  untainted 
by  belief.  A  B  w  „ 

In  one  of  Pinero's  plays  the  drunken  wastrel  of  noble 
birth  is  accused  by  his  misalliance  : 

"  He's  always  maudlin  about  his  blessed  family." 

I  could  maudle  about  this  blessed  bit  of  mine, 
Julia,  until  the  end  of  time.  I  could  dilate  on  Julia  at 
home  and  Julia  out,  on  her  complete  indifference  to 
the  social  position  her  talent  might  have  brought  her, 
on  her  absorption  in  her  possessions,  on  the  small 


number  of  her  intimate  friends,  on  her  acute  love  of 
the  beautiful  in  pictures,  furniture  and  china,  her 
obsession  for  disguising  her  best  qualities,  and  her 
exquisite  capacity  for  embroidery. 

There  was  no  sort  of  needlework  she  could  not 
accomplish  to  perfection,  and  while  she  plied  her  own 
needle  so  well  it  was  impossible  for  her  to  resist  any 
opportunity  to  add  to  her  rarely  beautiful  samples  of 
old  Chinese  and  Japanese  execution.  To  show  these 
to  their  advantage  she  would  have  huge  pillows  of 
embroidery  in  vivid  colours  placed  upon  black  satin 
chairs  and  sofas,  while  her  black  satin  curtains  would 
be  draped  behind  pelmets  gay  with  Oriental  designs 
interrupted  with  gold  thread  ;  famille  verte  and  famille 
rose  blossomed  in  gorgeous  colour  around  her  pots  and 
jars  of  all  shapes,  and  very  good  indeed  was  the  effect 
with  her  jade  green  walls  and  old  lac  cabinets  and 
the  little  Japanese  trees  which  held  for  her  a  great 

I  can  see  her  now  clad  in  a  black  Japanese  gown, 
invaded  by  golden  dragons,  seated  in  a  deep  chair  ;  at 
her  back  an  enormous  cushion  embroidered  with  a 
ponderous  elephant  lightly  burdened  with  scarlet 
flowers  ;  her  feet  upon  a  stool  traced  with  pink  and 
red  roses,  her  hands  holding  a  piece  of  cambric,  her 
eyes  looking  up  from  this  to  fix  themselves  in  dreamy 
adoration  on  a  little  stunted  dark  green  tree  rooted  in 
sand  planted  in  blue  and  white  china. 

She  was  weaving  a  story  round  it,  not  quite  sure 
whether  she  had  imagined  it  or  read  it. 

I  felt  myself  back  in  that  double  bed  of  our  nursery 

"  Go  on,"  I  encouraged  her. 


"  It  was  planted  by  a  gardener  who  fell  in  love 
with  his  master's  daughter,  the  girl  was  sent  away  to 
die  after  her  marriage  with  a  prince,  and  the  spirit  of 
the  departed  came  back  to  visit  her  lowly  lover.  She 
was  wearing  a  white  kimono  with  white  chrysanthe- 
mums in  her  hair,  while  she  bade  him  to  plant  an  oak 
for  her,  to  water  it  with  his  blood,  and  she  promised 
when  that  oak  had  become  a  tree  she  would  return 
and  lead  him  to  paradise. 

But  the  tree  grew  slowly,  and  only  when  he  was  an 
old  man  shrivelled  and  bent  and  bowed  they  found 
him  one  morning  dead  beside  the  tree,  his  pruning- 
knife  by  his  side,  a  great  gash  in  his  throat  whence  the 
blood  had  run  over  the  yet  young  oak.  The  root  shows 
now  the  stain. " 

"  Hullo,"  she  said,  looking  up,  "  you  there  ? " 
'  Yes,  of  course  I  am.5' 

"  I  was  dreaming  about  that  oak  tree." 

"  Pity,  it  is  a  cedar,"  I  objected,  not  comprehending 
her  passion  for  these  death-in-life  abortions  which  my 
practical  mind  sees  as  through  the  wrong  end  of  a 
telescope,  frozen  corpses  of  beautiful  lives. 

However,  Julia  grew  bored  with  the  entirely  Eastern 
atmosphere  of  her  room,  properly  assured  that  the 
old  English  colour  prints  of  her  newer  fancy  did  not 
seem  quite  at  home  in  it,  and  that  the  need  for  Stafford- 
shire was  urgent,  and  it  was  to  their  better  bestowal 
that  she  sought  and  found  them  the  more  righteous 
dwelling  which  oddly  enough  had  been  in  occupation 
by  Emma  Lady  Hamilton  at  the  time  when  Nelson 
was  visiting  her. 

It  was  a  charming  old  house  wherein  every  crooked 
door  and  slanting  floor  gave  its  tottering  testimony 


to  the  date  of  its  building.  It  confessed  its  birth  on 
every  worm-eaten  panel,  and,  provided  though  it 
might  be  with  porcelain  baths  and  internal  telephones, 
it  never  looked  a  day  younger.  What  hunts  we  had  in 
old  furniture  shops  to  stamp  it  further  with  its  correct 
tradition.  But  Julia  would  frequent  Christie's  as  much 
in  the  interests  of  the  bargain  she  did  not  obtain  as  of  the 
game  of  Bridge  which  never  failed  her  in  the  vicinity. 

Julia  and  I  had  much  diversity  of  opinion  about 
cards  and  gambling  ;  in  the  earlier  days  I  endeavoured 
to  follow  her  lead  and  stultify  my  own  inclination  just 
for  the  pleasure  of  being  with  her,  but  I  gave  up  the 
job  with  some  relief  when  after  I  had  been  struggling 
for  months  to  surprise  her  with  my  efficiency  in  solo 
whist  she  said  it  was  a  stupid  game,  and  she  should 
never  play  anything  but  Bridge. 

She  never  taught  me  cards,  and  I  have  never  missed 
the  knowledge,  but  I  was  proud  in  making  her  add 
dress  to  the  arts  of  her  interest,  although  she  had  no 
need  to  achieve  elegance  on  her  own  initiative,  her 
means  permitting  her  the  services  of  the  most  deserv- 
ing dressmakers,  yet  she  did  completely  abandon  the 
careless  ways  of  her  youth  and  condescend  to  employ 
elaborate  means  to  the  attractive  end.  Together  we 
investigated  varied  artists  in  personal  decoration  to 
enjoy  their  patter  in  the  cause  of  "  copy  "  as  much  as 
in  the  higher  excuse  of  beauty. 

Regardless  of  the  proverbial  birth-rate  of  familiarity 
our  perpetual  companionship  left  us  with  an  unchang- 
ing admiration  for  each  other,  and  for  James.  What- 
ever weakness  or  strength  we  were  displaying,  we 
never  forgot  the  parental  edict  backed  by  Watts, 
"  Love  one  another." 


We  three,  Julia,  James  and  I,  each  thought  the  other 
"  so  clever, "  becoming  so  inextricably  mixed  up  in 
the  minds  of  the  journalists  that  James  would  complain 
laughingly,  "  I  cannot  write  a  play  without  Julia  and 
Eliza  getting  a  notice  of  their  accomplishments,"  and 
he  would  always  declare  he  dare  not  reveal  his  age 
until  he  had  looked  into  the  columns  of  Who's  Who, 
and  regulated  his  years  to  fit  the  fictions  there  of  the 
birthdays  of  his  sisters. 

Julia  would  send  her  proofs  to  James,  and  James 
would  relate  a  yard  of  scenario,  and  if  I  had  immor- 
talised a  draper  in  doggerel,  a  weakness  of  mine,  I 
could  find  audience  in  brother  and  sister  alike.  But 
the  most  remarkable  proof  of  Julia's  unassailable 
loyalty  was  her  coming  with  me  to  the  St.  James's 
Hall  where  Ada  Crossley  sang  some  words  I  wrote  for 
Liza  Lehmann  to  set  to  music.  Julia  and  I  both  suf- 
fered from  a  deficiency  of  music,  but  she  was  less  deaf 
to  melody,  and  had  indeed,  through  a  deep  friendship 
with  a  well-known  violinist,  succeeded  in  writing  a 
book  with  a  musician  as  hero. 

She  possessed  exceptional  forces,  never  sparing  her 
energy  to  reach  a  desirable  goal,  and  she  fell  through 
her  enthusiasm  for  Bridge  into  some  tiresome  litiga- 
tion which,  although  crowned  with  success  as  to  the 
outward  seeming,  brought  in  the  excitement  of  its 
victory  some  untoward  weakness  of  the  heart.  I  knew 
her  to  be  ill,  although  she  always  declared  defiantly  as 
if  insulted  by  the  enquiry  : 

"  I  am  quite  well,  thank  you,  do  not  fuss  about  me, 
attend  to  your  own  personal  ailments,"  she  would 
scoff  and  evade  my  anxiety. 

Yet  I  was  right  about  that  celebrated  cause,  and 


after  the  triumph  celebrated  in  a  magnificent  luncheon 
at  the  Savoy,  she  confessed  she  was  tired  and  dis- 
gusted ;  the  whole  thing,  including  the  splendid 
success,  was  vulgar  and  silly ;  she  admitted  that 
her  position  had  been  impregnable,  and  that  the 
malice  which  attacked  her  might  have  been  left 
to  do  its  worst  without  the  declaration  of  twelve 

But  she  set  herself  gaily  to  the  task  of  founding  in 
the  interest  of  a  mixed  community  of  card  players  the 
Cleveland  Club  which  flourishes  to  this  hour  to  add 
another  stone  to  the  monument  of  evidence  of  her 
ability  to  achieve  whatever  she  undertook. 

When  writing  a  novel  she  became,  or  wanted  to 
become,  a  hermit,  and  my  constant  interruptions  of 
her  solitude  in  London  being  incorrigible,  she  would 
migrate  to  Brighton,  to  Eastbourne,  to  France  or  to 
Italy  rather  than  offend  by  refusing  me  admittance. 
But  yet  I  absorbed  some  of  her  time  and  thoughts 
wherever  she  wandered,  and  amongst  many  enchanting 
letters,  I  quote  one  written  from  Sicily. 

"  The  nett  idea  of  this  holiday  is  that  the  title  has 
been  taken. 

It  never  can  happen  again. 

It  never  can  happen  again  that  I  live  in  the  curve  of 
an  exquisite  bay  land-locked  with  brown  and  purple 
mountains  snow-crowned,  with  villages  nestling  at 
their  base  ;  that  from  my  windows  I  can  lean  out  and 
pick  ripe  oranges  ;  that  the  terrace  garden  has  large 
lilies  growing  in  profusion  near  banks  of  violets  ;  that 
I  can  pluck  hyacinths  as  if  they  were  wild  flowers  and 
fill  my  room  with  them.  It  never  can  happen  again 


that  I  make  friends  with  an  Italian  gardener  who  pays 
me  daily  visits  with  hands  laden  with  garden  sweets, 
narcissi  and  roses,  mignonette  and  some  great  scarlet 
flowers  whose  name  I  do  not  know. 

It  never  can  happen  again  that  I  write  a  complete 
novel  in  six  weeks,  and  that  when  I  want  to  play 
trente  et  quarante  I  shall  find  it  next  door  to  me  with 
every  element  of  disorder  rigorously  excluded  and  my 
seat  reserved  in  the  best  position  ;  footstool  and 
cushion,  card  and  pencil  brought  to  me,  and  the 
croupier  sympathising  when  I  lose  and  suggesting  to 
me  when  to  vary  my  game. 

And  never  again  will  a  man  like  Professor  Salinus 
take  trouble  to  conduct  me  personally  over  a  wonderful 
museum  and  teach  me  so  much  in  so  short  a  time 
while  telling  me  that  I  have  as  yet  seen  nothing. 

It  never  can  happen  again,  and  I  know  this  will 
interest  you  specially,  that  I  am  thrown  in  daily  con- 
tact with  an  actress  and  that  she  has  revolutionised  my 
whole  point  of  view  of  women  on  the  stage." 

In  fact  during  that  trip  Julia  became  enchanted  by 
two  actresses,  by  Ellaline  Terriss,  to  whom  she  alludes, 
and  by  Edna  May.  She  had  formed  her  previous 
opinions  upon  quite  an  uninstructed  basis  rather 
upon  the  principle  of  that  man  who  grumbled  at  his 
newly  made  wife  always  talking  about  money. 

"  Money,  money,  money  at  every  meal,"  he  confided 
to  a  friend,  who  made  questioning  answer  : 
"  What  does  she  do  with  it  all,  Tom  ?  " 
61  I  don't  know,  I  never  give  her  any." 
That  was  Julia  with  regard  to  the  stage  folk,  she 
never  knew  any  until  I  insisted  that  she  should,  and 
yet  she  had  the  audacity  to  condemn  them  wholesale. 


To  face  page  68 


However,  she  lived  to  repent  as  thoroughly  as  she  had 
sinned,  making  the  honourable  amend  when  she 
wrote  The  Heart  of  a  Child,  setting  on  high  the  honest 
little  gutter  girl  who  went  on  the  boards,  as  the  greatest 
lady  in  the  high  circles  she  reached  with  all  dramatic 

That  book  attained  the  widest  popularity  of  any  she 
had  ever  published,  and  once  or  twice  the  story  has 
been  produced  on  a  film,  and  in  its  dramatic  form 
Renee  Kelly  has  played  the  heroine  in  London  and  the 

The  letter  from  Sicily  concluded  with  a  firm  deter- 
mination to  meet  all  the  actresses  and  actors  I  could 
possibly  present  to  her,  and  it  struck  a  more  vital  note. 

"  Perhaps  it  will  be  better  for  me  to  let  my  new  book 
simmer  a  bit,  I  can  finish  it  in  three  weeks  if  ?  ?  ?  " 

An  interrogation  which  should  have  terminated, 
!<  If  you  will  give  me  leisure." 

I  could  never  do  without  my  daily  pilgrimage  to 
my  oracle  if  I  could  reach  her,  and  although  there 
existed  the  strict  rule  of  "  not  before  a  quarter-past 
one  "  I  know  I  transgressed  it  often,  in  my  anxiety  for 
her  company  and  her  counsel. 

That  I  proved  of  some  use  to  her  I  realise  so  proudly 
in  a  few  pencilled  lines  written  during  the  last  days  of 
her  last  illness,  when  a  bad  attack  of  influenza  kept  me 
from  her  bedside. 

"  Dearest,  I  miss  you  beyond  words,  yet  desire  you 
to  do  everything  your  alarming  physician  orders  ;  I 
find  Twilight  depressing  ;  how  could  I  have  done  it  ? 
Do  you  think  you  could  see  me  through  another  ?  " 



OCIALISM  is  the  religion  of  the  future." 

I  seem  to  have  heard  something  like  that 
before,  and  on  the  same  tongue  too,  I  con- 
jectured, as  I  caught  its  echo  at  a  corner  of  Regent's 
Park,  and  turned  to  see  Cecil  Raleigh,  brown  felt- 
hatted,  white-stocked,  tweed-suited,  with  one  hand 
affectionately  placed  on  his  bicycle  while  his  other 
held  the  eternal  cigarette,  and  he  was  dogmatising  to 
a  bright-faced  maiden  whose  rapt  attention  suggested 
she  was  accepting  him  as  a  prophet  of  all  the  best;, 

The  clock  was  nearing  four,  and  the  encounter  took 
place  just  outside  my  house,  so  tea  for  three  was  most 
clearly  indicated.  Over  those  cheering  cups  Cecil 
Raleigh  proved  extremely  amusing.  We  decided  to 
meet  often  in  the  future,  although  there  was  no  point 
of  view  of  morality,  politics  or  religion  which  did  not 
find  us  at  vehement  difference,  but  we  shared  an  en- 
thusiasm for  the  theatre,  and  he  was  engaged  in 
preparation  of  one  of  his  melodramas  which  annually 
filled  the  stage  at  Drury  Lane  Theatre,  sometimes  in 
collaboration  with  other  authors,  but  always  under  his 
personal  and  violent  direction. 

Cecil  Raleigh  was  undoubtedly  very  clever,  and  no 



one  was  more  cocksure  of  this  than  Cecil  Raleigh, 
while  he  had  no  turn  for  sentiment,  so  that  his  com- 
panionship was  a  pleasure  if  I  did  not  venture  to 
dispute  with  him,  and  proved  willing  to  listen  to  his 
opinions  rather  than  to  dwell  upon  mine.  However, 
I  am  aware  I  liked  to  be  with  him,  and  that  I  indulged 
that  liking  to  some  extent.  He  would  come  to  tell  me 
of  the  scenes  he  was  planning,  of  the  witticisms  he 
knew  would  "  go,"  and  occasionally  he  would  disturb 
all  the  household  in  his  determination  to  illustrate  an 
incident  of  his  fancy.  When  he  was  writing  The  Price 
of  Peace  every  walking-stick  and  fire-iron  from  base- 
ment to  garret  were  employed  in  elucidating  the 
righteous  stacking  of  the  Boer  guns. 

Now  and  again  he  would  throw  out  an  idea  for  a 
new  plot,  never  failing  to  resent  rudely  my  hint  of  its 
likeness  to  others.  He  revelled  in  highly  coloured 
crime  and  catastrophe  by  sea  and  land  and  under  the 
.sea  ;  but  into  every  circumstance,  however  appalling, 
he  never  forgot  to  introduce  to  public  taste  a  purple 
patch  of  blatant  humour,  served  with  sporting-jargon 

Cecil  had  a  strange  individuality,  bred,  and  to  some 
degree  cultured,  as  much  in  the  training  stable  owned 
by  his  father  as  in  the  so-called  literary  arena  where 
he  came  to  stand  to  his  profit. 

He  was  at  once  contemplative  and  alert,  ignorant 
and  well  informed.  God  and  Gibbon  shared  his  best 

His  well-kept  fingers  twisted  his  monster  moustache 
into  upright  points,  whilst  he  gave  forth  dogma  and 
defied  contradiction.  He  delivered  his  unalterable 
doctrines  with  abrupt  little  sniffs,  and  dilated  at  length 


upon  his  certainty  that  he  knew  all  the  righteous  rules 
of  life,  of  drama,  of  democracy,  of  domesticity  and  of 
disinfectants,  the  last  two  being  favourite  hobbies, 
somewhat  trying  in  their  practice  to  those  who  tended 

He  was  accounted  to  be  a  romantic  rover,  but 
actually  he  was  devoted  to  his  own  home,  and  he 
would  delight  in  interviewing  the  dustman,  making 
personal  appeals  to  his  cook,  playing  mayor  in  the 
mews,  and  inscribing  on  blackboards  prohibitions  to 
tradesmen,  beggars  or  organ-grinders.  His  reputation 
as  Lothario  rather  pleased  him,  although  it  was  mainly 
based  upon  his  affection  for  one  wife  of  one  friend,  two 
wives  of  his  own  not  simultaneous,  and  the  occasional 
companionship  of  a  certain  flirtatious  flibbertigibbet 
who  summed  up  the  affair,  "  Quite  harmless  ;  two 
years'  daily  cycling  round  the  park  with  Cecil  Raleigh 
— total  asset,  one  new  bicycle  bell." 

As  a  matter  of  fact  Cecil  Raleigh  was  no  casual  giver 
of  gifts,  but  I  have  known  him  help  most  generously 
an  enfranchised  prisoner  of  undoubted  guilt.  He  had 
no  great  opinion  of  women,  but  he  exacted  their 
services  greedily,  and  obtained  their  devotion  without 
much  effort,  while  he  resented  those  who  were  clever 
as  deeply  as  he  was  bored  by  those  who  were  not. 

I  was  happily  associated  with  him  in  the  production 
of  White  Heather,  for  Arthur  Collins  invited  me  to 
assist  in  designing  the  costumes  which  were  to  grace 
one  scene  on  the  Scotch  moors,  and  another  at 
Boulter's  Lock  in  the  summer-time.  There  were  no 
less  than  ninety  frocks  altogether,  and  I  was  given  a 
free  hand  in  their  detail.  I  thought  it  would  be  a 
commission  after  my  own  heart,  and  to  my  complete 


capacity,  but  I  do  not  believe  that  I  did  it  particularly 
well,  being  anxious  to  obtain  diversity  in  style  with 
harmony  in  colour  for  the  groups  ;  and  although 
Arthur  Collins  was  most  kind,  I  rather  failed  with  the 
girls  who  resented  me,  and  would  sulk  should  I  object 
to  a  hat  placed  back  to  front  or  poised  sideways  four 
inches  above  the  hair.  However,  under  the  hand  of 
Arthur  Collins,  who  upheld  firmly  my  ruling,  the  ulti- 
mate result  was  pronounced  good,  and  the  ultimate 
cheque  supremely  satisfactory  with  its  accompanying 
letter  of  thanks. 

But  this  intrusion  into  White  Heather  was  not  my 
first  introduction  behind  the  scenes  of  Drury  Lane. 
I  had  stood  there  with  Augustus  Harris  when  Arthur 
Collins  was  indispensably  efficient  adjutant,  and  it  was 
"Collins"  here,  "  Collins  "  there  and  "  Collins  " 
everywhere  during  the  dress  rehearsal  of  a  ballet  in  a 
pantomime,  while  I  was  acting  as  special  reporter  on 
Court  trains  cleverly  contrived  from  curtain  net  and 

In  whatever  direction  I  might  endeavour  to  persuade 
my  pen  to  wander,  I  was  never  disassociated  from 
Dress  in  the  mind  of  any,  and  I  was  never  allowed  to 
desert  that  first  love. 

Occasionally  I  met  with  criticism,  even  the  accusa- 
tion of  being  over-prodigal,  and  a  dangerous  influence 
in  economics,  a  menace  to  the  more  frugal  proprieties. 

Long  before  the  Boer  war  I  had  been  taken  to  task 
for  these  sins. 

I  was  visited  one  day  by  a  female  representative  of 
an  admirable  provincial  journal.  She  was  incidentally 
a  philanthropist,  and  one  of  the  worst-dressed  women 
I  had  ever  seen.  She  called  to  impress  upon  me  the 


error  of  my  ways.  She  admonished  me  something  like 
this  : 

"  Women  read  your  alluring  accounts  of  gorgeous 
elegance  and  regardless  of  the  small  incomes  of  their 
husbands  and  the  many  claims  upon  them  they  are 
attracted  by  the  desire  to  buy  clothes  they  cannot 
afford,  and  disaster  to  home  and  happiness  is  the 
inevitable  result.  Now,  as  a  woman  who  works  for 
the  help  of  the  many,  I  come  to  you  to  implore  you  to 
give  up  this  wicked  folly  of  yours.  It  is  doing  incal- 
culable harm,  and  so  far  as  I  can  see  no  good." 

There  was  the  rub.  "  So  far  as  she  could  see." 
But  she  could  see  such  a  very  little  distance.  She 
could  not  see  how  large  a  part  dress  plays  in  the  general 
scheme  of  beauty,  nor  how  important  a  factor  it  is  in 
international  commerce,  nor  how  it  agitates  in  our 
home  industries  ;  she  could  not  see  that  temptation 
might  afford  women  an  excellent  chance  of  practising 
self-denial  ;  and  she  could  not  recognise  that  even  while 
I  lingered  lovingly  in  a  fairyland  of  Fashion,  and  sum- 
moned all  the  adjectives  I  knew  to  describe  the  most 
magnificent  costumes,  I  always  advocated  that  every 
woman  should  be  guided  rather  by  her  bank  balance 
than  by  an  overdraft,  and  that,  above  all,  she  should  as 
anxiously  consider  what  is  becoming  to  her  position  as 
to  her  person. 

While  I  had  put  these  points  to  my  visitor  I  could 
not  help  noting  that  the  short  tops  of  her  laced  boots, 
being  too  large  for  her  ankles,  revealed  some  hideous 
grey  worsted  stockings,  above  which  a  striped  yellow 
and  brown  petticoat  hung  assertive  and  unashamed. 
I  observed,  too,  that  the  back  of  her  blouse  was 
querulously  striving  to  separate  itself  from  her  skirt, 


that  her  collar  was  slightly  at  one  side,  and  that, 
while  her  tie  was  unpinned,  her  hat  was  transfixed 
with  no  less  than  six  pins,  their  points  sticking  out  at 
different  angles  on  each  side  of  her  head.  To  me  she 
was  the  beastly  example. 

I  forgave  her  an  absurd  interview  which  she  printed 
ultimately,  and  proceeded  unabashed  upon  my  offend- 
ing way,  gladly  taking  the  opportunity  to  play  the 
dressing  part  in  White  Heather,  while  Cecil  Raleigh 
was  a  constant  source  of  entertainment.  Arthur 
Collins  was  splendidly  first,  and  I  had  much  instruction 
from  both  in  the  intricate  secrets  of  stage  craft. 

The  small  tank  of  live  fish,  which  by  means  of 
magnifying  lights  did  duty  as  environment  to  a  sub- 
marine fight  between  two  divers,  was  a  revelation  of 
expert  ingenuity,  but  I  never  had  chance  to  brave 
a  canvas  avalanche  or  suffer  a  salted  earthquake. 

Arthur  Collins  was  one  of  the  few  managers  to  dwell 
perpetually  in  the  country,  and  an  observer  has  said 
of  him,  "  In  the  summer  he  plays  croquet  until  it  is 
time  for  billiards  or  bridge,  and  bridge  or  billiards 
until  it  is  time  for  croquet  again,  complaining  bitterly 
that  the  early  birds  will  spoil  his  slumbers  and  upset 
his  strokes/' 

Cecil  Raleigh  thought  he  knew  all  about  acting, 
about  stage-managing,  and  scenic  effect  on  the  technical 
side,  and  he  was  prepared  at  a  moment's  notice  to 
jump  on  the  boards  and  demonstrate  this  efficiency. 

He  had  a  favourite  theory  which  he  hoped  might 
shock.  :<  I  look  upon  Shakespeare  as  the  tall  hat  of 
English  literature,  constantly  affected  by  people  who 
don't  like  him  because  they  regard  him  as  the  outward 
and  visible  sign  of  intellectual  respectability." 


Cecil  Raleigh  was  the  first  dramatist  to  combine  the 
film  with  the  spoken  word  in  The  Diamond  Express, 
produced  in  the  Coliseum's  inaugurating  bill. 

But  he  was  conscious  of  his  limitations  in  literature, 
and  no  sincerity  went  to  his  love-making,  so  that  when 
writing  in  collaboration  with  Henry  Hamilton  he  would 
wisely  delegate  this  to  him  with  any  "  bit  of  pathos  " 
he  thought  necessary  to  his  tale,  while  he  supplied 
liberally  the  surprising  sensation  and  the  repartee 
essential  to  the  "  smart  "  lady  or  the  comic  underling, 
never  omitted  from  the  cast. 

He  was  an  incorrigible  farceur,  and  once  in  an  inter- 
val of  scene-shifting  he  sat  with  me  in  the  empty  stalls 
gravely  refuting  my  charge  of  cynicism  by  a  story  of 
unrequited  affection.  He  related  how  he  had  ap- 
proached a  young  matron  of  our  mutual  acquaintance. 
1  What  do  you  say  to  a  few  days  at  the  Ship  Hotel, 
Brighton  ?  " 

The  answer  being  in  the  negative,  I  should  guess  he 
had  astonished  the  object  of  his  dalliance  with  his 
careless  resignation,  as  he  announced  it  to  me. 

"  All  right,  perhaps  you  know  best.  Good-bye,  I 
have  no  time  for  wooing." 

Some  might  have  misinterpreted  the  narrative  as  an 
insult  even  in  the  telling,  but  to  me  it  was  intensely 
funny,  if  not  exactly  establishing  Cecil's  claim  to 
tenderness.  I  could  so  easily  visualise  the  circum- 
stances, the  little  sniff  of  its  accompaniment  with  a 
cigarette  tapped  to  its  best  conduct,  heralding  the 
swift  departure  to  wheel  round  the  inner  circle  which 
was  Cecil's  unchangeable  habit  for  several  hours  daily. 

"  I  believe  the  world  at  its  end  will  find  you  on  your 
machine  encompassing  the  park,"  I  would  hazard  ;  but 


his  world  came  to  an  end  very  shortly  afterwards.  He 
fell  a  victim  to  throat  trouble,  which  he  had  been  trying 
to  benefit  at  Folkestone,  where  I  last  saw  him  after  he 
had  filled  my  room  with  flowers  in  glad  greeting.  Poor 
Cecil !  he  seems  yet  to  haunt  that  corner  of  Brunswick 
Place  where  he  so  faithfully  lingered.  Many  other 
memories  for  me  lurk  here,  each  stone  of  the  pavement 
has  been  trodden  by  the  feet  of  those  I  have  known 
and  liked. 

Here  often  have  I  walked  and  talked  with  Alfred 
Sutro,  in  devoted  attendance  upon  a  superb  sheep-dog, 
mud-laden  from  his  colossal  tree-trunkish  legs  up  to 
his  burly  grey  and  white  chest.  Little  chance  of 
serious  converse  with  Alfred  Sutro  when  he  is  accom- 
panied by  a  dog.  The  youngest  and  prettiest  of  us 
would  get  poor  grace.  It  is  a  complete  lesson  in  the 
science  of  animal-loving  to  watch  Alfred  Sutro  look 
at  a  dog  and  a  dog  look  at  Alfred  Sutro.  He  beams 
through  gold-framed  glasses,  it  responds  with  suffused 
eyes.  Dramatist  does  not  pat  dog,  nor  dog  dramatist, 
but  each  knows  the  other  as  a  thoroughly  good  fellow, 
and  both  are  right. 

The  strange  case  of  Alfred  Sutro,  writer  of  plays,  is 
his  whole-hearted  acknowledgment  of  the  dramatic 
talent  of  others,  holding  in  special  reverence  Pinero, 
and  being  little  worried  about  the  parlous  state  of  the 
legitimate  drama,  and  always  the  perfect  optimist  on 
its  prominent  place  in  permanent  politics.  Add  to 
this  Alfred  Sutro  Js  disapproval  of  physical  pain  for 
others,  his  confirmed  belief  in  the  good  influence  of 
the  good  player  at  Bridge,  his  definite  leaning  towards 
lovely  woman,  his  irrepressible  raillery  at  the  genus 
snob,  and  there  you  have  the  man  as  I  know  and 


admire  him  ;  even,  yes  even  when  he  tells  me  one  of 
those  stories  about  a  dog  which  is  almost  as  hard  to 
swallow  comfortably  as  others  which  hang  on  the 
fisherman's  line. 

At  Brunswick  Place  again  I  first  knew  the  remark- 
able Milholland  family,  meeting  them  at  Madame 
Novikoffs,  and  instinctively  hailing  them  at  once  as 

John  E.,  the  father,  was  one  of  the  first  editors, 
before  the  powerful  days  of  Whitelaw  Reid,  of  the 
New  York  Tribune,  and  his  wife  was  Jean  of  stately 
mien,  and  fine  examples  of  the  new  world  were  their 
youngsters  Inez  and  Veda  and  "  little  "  John  as  I  yet 
call  him,  although  he  measures  some  six  feet  two. 

John  Milholland,  senior,  had  the  head  of  a  lion,  the 
heart  of  a  lamb,  the  simple  faith  of  a  Quaker  and  the 
complicated  brain  of  all  the  best  American  financiers  ; 
odd,  bewildering  compound,  but  incidentally  he  was 
very  handsome  and  inclined  to  flatter. 

He  spent  many  years  in  England  whilst  trying  to 
persuade  different  Governments  of  the  advantages  of 
his  pneumatic  tube  postal  service,  and  then  in  despair 
and  maybe  disgust  at  their  unintelligent  miscompre- 
hension of  his  point  of  view,  he  devoted  himself  ex- 
clusively to  Philadelphia,  resting  from  his  labours 
occasionally  at  his  birthplace  in  the  Adirondacks, 
where  already  my  visit  is  a  decade  overdue. 

Much  of  the  pride  and  joy  of  the  lives  of  Mr.  and 
Mrs.  John  E.  Milholland  went  with  the  death  of  their 
daughter  Inez,  who  gave  her  beautiful  young  life  to 
the  political  cause,  starting  upon  an  extensive  tour  to 
lecture  when  she  was  already  ill.  How  lovely  she  was 
when  I  first  saw  her  with  the  complete  grace  of  an 


unchipped  Greek  goddess,  and  excelling  at  all  sports, 
while  she  was  flirting  outrageously  with  Fabianism 
and  had  caught  Suffrage  in  its  most  mad  moments. 
She  was  ever  adorably  feminine  in  her  obstinacy,  and 
in  face  and  figure  she  was  very  like  her  mother,  one 
of  the  most  elegant  well  possessed  of  Paquin,  and 
easily  to  be  pictured  as  a  social  leader.  But  Inez  had 
no  such  ambition,  she  was  just  rabid  on  the  woman 
question,  which  she  put  and  answered  and  fought 
with  typical  energy  from  her  early  days  at  Vassar 

She  marched  through  the  streets  of  London  in  the 
first  procession  convened  to  claim  a  hearing  for  the 
Vote  ;  and,  mounted  on  a  white  horse  in  New  York, 
she  led  the  shirt-waist  strikers  with  such  enthusiasm 
that  the  special  pleading  she  had  imbibed  to  serve  her 
as  barrister  was  in  full  use  before  the  police-court 
judge  was  persuaded  of  her  right  to  incite  her  fellows 
to  free  rebellion  should  she  desire  to  do  so. 

She  was  an  enterprising  sportswoman  was  the  all- 
compelling  Inez,  and  she  married  a  delightful  Dutch 
gentleman,  a  traveller  she  met  when  crossing  over  to 
this  side. 

She  consulted  nobody ;  she  wished  to  marry  him, 
and  despite  some  difficulty  in  the  way,  owing  to  the 
difference  of  their  nationalities,  she  gained  her  cause 
in  a  morning,  and  the  afternoon  of  that  day  found  me 
on  the  balcony  of  Mrs.  Milholland's  house  in  Prince 
of  Wales  Terrace  endeavouring,  with  the  help  of  Signor 
Marconi,  to  console  her  mother  and  compose  a  cable 
to  her  adoring  father,  absent  in  New  York. 

Marconi,  simple,  sincere  and  charming  creature, 
projected  a  dozen  schemes  to  soften  the  blow,  even  he 


would  go  back  to  America  to  break  the  news  personally; 
he  was  always  a  loyal  friend,  and  he  bore  a  great  regard 
for  the  Milhollands.  However,  time  worked  its  usual 
miracles,  and  John  Milholland  became  reconciled,  even 
attached  to  his  son-in-law,  reflecting  no  doubt  as 
worshipping  parents  will  that  no  man  could  have 
been  deserving  of  such  honour  as  the  hand  of  their 

One  of  the  strangest  social  affairs  I  ever  attended 
was  at  that  house  of  the  Milhollands,  Mrs.  Milholland 
for  that  occasion  being  in  America  and  John  E.  host 
on  his  own.  Thoroughly  soaked  in  the  spirit  of  uni- 
versal brotherhood  (he  had  indeed  sacrificed  much 
political  position  for  his  belief  in  the  equality  of  Black 
with  White),  he  was  distributing  hospitality  to  a  com- 
pany of  many  colours — white,  brown,  black  and  yellow 
— and  including  boldly  the  loyal  and  the  seditious 
from  China,  from  India,  from  West,  East  and  South 

Speeches  were  made  to  air  various  grievances  and 
to  cavil  at  England  as  colonist,  and  William  T.  Stead 
took  the  chair,  or  at  least  he  took  the  corner  of  the  sofa, 
where  he  lolled  at  ease,  sitting  on  either  side  of  the  fence 
as  demanded  by  the  eloquence  and  the  best  traditions 
of  well-balanced  loyalty.  A  Zulu  and  a  Boer  in  flagrant 
hate  towards  Great  Britain  had  numerous  wrongs 
to  voice,  and  Lady  Solomon,  who  was  present, 
seemed  to  understand  them  all,  if  not  to  condone 
them  all. 

An  English  Protestant  clergyman  uprose  to  declare 
that  only  those  who  had  lived  with  coloured  races 
could  imagine  the  difficulties  of  dealing  justice  to 
them,  and  that  for  his  part  he  admitted  candidly  he 


had  gone  out  in  full  prejudice  that  they  were  oppressed, 
and  he  had  come  home  convinced  of  the  amazing 
toleration  of  their  treatment. 

"  Persecution  never  yet  produced  progress  "  was  a 
dogma  delivered  by  an  educated  magnate  of  Liberia, 
to  be  answered  by  my  sister  Julia,  a  most  reluctant 
orator,  that  "  Jews  have  flourished  beneath  it." 

"  Be  a  sportsman,"  urged  my  host  in  a  loud  voice, 
"  and  take  a  black  man  down  to  supper." 

The  black  man  appointed  smiled  with  condescen- 
sion upon  my  invitation  and  showed  me  lovely  white 
teeth,  but  no  hint  whatever  of  his  sense  of  the  honour 
I  was  supposed  to  be  doing  him.  He  spoke  admirable 
English,  and  had  no  excuse  for  this  reticence,  so  I 
asked  him  : 

"  Do  you  resent  being  called  a  black  man  ?  " 

Another  grin  while  he  shook  his  head.  "  No,  you 
all  amuse  me  very  much." 

I  demanded  of  Stead  later  what  this  might  mean 
really,  much  revolutionary  rumour  being  popular,  and 
Stead  just  wagged  his  beard  in  reply,  and  quoted  some 
portentous  paragraph  which  he  had  contributed  in  the 
last  issue  of  his  beloved  Review  of  Reviews. 

W.  T.  Stead  had  been  the  hero  of  a  hundred  fights, 
and  was  possessed  of  a  personality  well  armoured  to 
the  attack  of  feminine  curiosity. 

"  An  angel  with  an  eye  to  business  "  he  had  been 
defined  with  some  humour  but  with  little  excuse,  for  a 
martyrdom  in  prison  after  playing  Crusader  in  the 
cause  of  virgin  purity  was  no  optical  delusion,  but  a 
sorry  fate  which  had  befallen  him  ;  and  small  comfort 
to  follow  in  writing  of  his  experience,  albeit  he  was 
Jehovah  amongst  journalists  and  a  man  of  most 


unusual  gifts,  with  a  deep  reverence  for  all  things 
holy,  and  some  psychic  extension  to  his  unfaltering 

Never  were  eyes  so  blue,  so  piercing,  as  Stead's,  the 
heavens  at  their  brightest  steel  plated  :  and  his  soft 
white  hair  above,  and  soft  white  beard  below  his  pink 
cheeks,  gave  him  the  air  of  a  highly  discriminating 
dove,  or  a  hawk  from  the  best  celestial  circles.  He 
uplifted  his  chin  as  he  spoke,  and  his  open  mouth  re- 
vealed his  nonconformist  outlook  on  dental  convention, 
while  he  laid  much  emphasis  on  the  blessedness  of  his 
own  married  state,  and  evinced  much  inquisitiveness 
about  mine.  He  was  a  zealot  for  the  good  of  the 
multitude,  yet  I  could  never  believe  the  story  that  he 
had  once  "  put  his  arms  round  the  waist  of  a  wife 
while  imploring  her  to  be  faithful  to  her  husband." 

He  was  magnetic  in  his  addresses,  but  they  would 
border  on  the  verbose,  yet  he  had  many  worshipping 
disciples,  faithful  adorers,  who  felt  he  could  neither 
do  nor  say  wrong  ;  and  none  were  more  persuaded  of 
his  tremendous  intellect,  worth  and  influence  in 
England  and  on  the  Continent,  where  he  played 
diplomat,  than  was  John  E.  Milholland. 

One  evening  under  his  auspices  Stead  and  I  again 
met,  and  I  was  immensely  struck  by  a  pronouncement 
of  his  which  followed  arguments  over  the  world's 
likely  condition  half  a  century  onward. 

No  one  had  shed  much  light  upon  the  possible 
evolutions,  though  many  had  put  forth  opinions  at 
tiresome  length. 

Stead,  in  his  might,  summed  up  to  illuminate  chance. 

"  We  must  calculate  upon  the  two  greatest  influences, 
Jews  and  airships. " 


Pretty  good  that,  so  many  years  ago  ;  and  now  Lord 
Reading  is  Viceroy  of  India,  Sir  Herbert  Samuel 
stands  for  England  in  Palestine,  and  the  airship's  flight 
to  fame  and  victory  overrides  all  the  discovered  and 
undiscovered  countries  of  the  universe. 

"  We  who  are  about  to  sail  salute  you,"  reads 
John  E.  Milholland's  last  telegram— and  to  satisfy  my 
hunger  for  sentimentality,  as  Americans  will,  he 
added  : 

"  Your  wire  arrived  ;  was  it  written  upon  the  lid  of 
the  refrigerator  ?  " 



I   DO  not  know  to  what  beneficent  fairy  I  owed 
my  first  introduction  to  Henry  Irving.     I  sus- 
pected some   late  defaulting  guest :    anyway,  I 
was  summoned  by  telephone  to  Prince's  Restaurant  to 
enjoy  the  hospitality  of  Mr.  and  Mrs.  Walter  Ellis, 
whom  I  had  known  from  my  childhood,  when  he  was 
a  writer  of  plays  and  the  proprietor  of  the  Court 
Circular,  and  she  united  amiability  with  other  social 
graces  which  led  to  many  happy  evenings  in  their 
house  at  St.  John's  Wood. 

Whenever  I  turned  my  face  towards  Henry  Irving 
during  that  portentous  evening  meal,  and  I  was  high- 
placed  next  to  him,  those  verses  by  Browning  recurred 
to  me  insistently  : 

"  Ah,  did  you  once  see  Shelley  plain, 
And  did  he  stop  and  speak  to  you, 
And  did  you  speak  to  him  again  ? 
How  strange  it  seems  and  new  ! 

But  you  were  living  before  that 
And  also  you  are  living  after  ; 
And  the  memory  I  started  at — 
My  starting  moves  your  laughter. 

I  crossed  a  moor,  with  a  name  of  its  own 
And  a  certain  use  in  the  world  no  doubt, 
Yet  a  hand's  breadth  of  it  shines  alone 
'Mid  the  blank  miles  round  about : 


For  there  I  picked  up  on  the  heather 
And  there  I  put  inside  my  breast 
A  moulted  feather,  an  eagle  feather  ! 
Well,  I  forget  the  rest." 

Lucky  that  I  was  embarrassed  to  dumbness,  so  that 
Irving  was  spared  their  recitation  at  my  tongue. 

Irving 's  personality  overwhelmed  me  against  his  will 
and  mine,  yet  he  was  quite  simple,  as  the  truly  great 
are,  and  he  gave  attention  to  my  affairs  rather  than  to 
his  own. 

But  then  his  greeting,  "  How  are  you  ?  "  unlike  the 
greetings  of  others,  never  enclosed  the  thought,  "  How 
am  I  ?  " 

That  evening  I  must  have  been  the  dullest  neigh- 
bour, although  encouraged  gently  to  some  measure  of 
confidence  by  a  sympathetic  nod  now  and  again,  when 
he  questioned,  "  Have  you  a  husband  and  children  ?  " 
to  be  made  aware  of  my  sad  glad  state.  Irving  listened 
with  apparent  pleasure  when,  in  the  name  of  all  the 
Jews,  I  ventured  to  thank  him  for  his  representation 
of  Shy  lock. 

Yet  the  awe  of  him  was  strong  upon  me,  and  I 
approached  more  comfortably  to  Beatty  Kingston,  who 
sat  on  my  right  full  of  his  recently  published  Monarchs 
I  have  Met,  so  that  I  enquired  of  him,  impudently 
enough,  the  best  method  to  obtain  success  in  jour- 
nalism. He  was  a  master  of  the  craft,  and  gave  im- 
mediate answer,  "  You  should  travel  "  ;  very  sound 
advice  too,  but  difficult  to  bring  to  fruition. 

The  monarch  I  had  just  met  persisted  amiably  until 
I  recovered  my  self-possession  to  take  my  normal 
notice  of  elegance  in  costume,  to  admire  his  jutting 
collar  which  separated  widely  to  display  his  square 


chin,  and  to  observe  the  unusual  narrowness  of  his 
sleeves  from  elbow  to  wrist,  deliberate  accentuation  of 
his  slender,  graceful  hands. 

My  courage  rose  even  to  the  protestation  of  my 
absorbing  love  for  the  theatre  and  my  ungratified 
desire  to  see  him  in  Waterloo. 

"  Where  do  you  live  ?  "  he  asked,  and  I  told  him  of 
Brunswick  Place  as  my  dwelling,  whilst  I  added,  "  next 
door  to  the  French  Convent,  where  the  Sisters  wearing 
beautiful  blue  veils  walk  up  and  down  in  a  garden." 

"  Um,"  he  mused  aloud,  "  I  am  sure  you  do  not 
wish  it  had  been  a  monastery." 

Thus  I  believe  we  crossed  the  first  quarter  of  an 
inch  of  the  way  to  mutual  interest,  and  yet  another 
was  overstepped  when  the  evening  came  to  an  end, 
with  some  of  the  assembled  ladies  claiming  their  right 
to  embrace  him.  I  watched  the  progress  of  kissing- time 
to  catch  his  whimsical  glance,  just  a  spark  to  light  me 
to  comprehension  of  that  keen  humour  which  was  so 
delightfully  his. 

The  morning  after  brought  me  evidence  of  his 
remembrance  in  a  note  containing  two  stalls  for 
Waterloo.  My  mother  was  prodigiously  pleased  by 
that  note,  telling  the  day's  visitors  of  its  contents, 
which  ran  : 

"  Nothing  much  to  see,  but  a  pleasure  to  know  you 
will  be  present." 

I  missed  through  diffidence  that  chance  given  to 
write  and  express  my  supreme  delight  in  his  perform- 
ance as  Corporal  Brewster,  late  of  the  3rd  Guards, 
and  I  did  not  meet  Henry  Irving  again  until  some 
months  later  when,  persuaded  by  the  picturesque 
poetry  and  prose  of  Clement  Scott,  I  was  staying  at 

MY   DAUGHTER   NITA   AT   THE   AGE   OF    15. 

To  face  page  86 


Cromer  whilst  he,  with  his  son  Laurence,  was  at 
Sheringham  preparing  the  scenes  for  Peter  the  Great. 

"  Fine  work  that  for  a  boy,"  he  would  declare  and 
declare  again  whilst  we  sat  on  the  hillside  near  the 
Links  Hotel  after  the  ceremony  of  his  first  visit  to  me 
had  disappeared  in  the  constant  practice  of  his  coming. 

Sheringham  is  situated  a  few  miles  from  Cromer, 
and  the  horsed  equipage  of  the  time  made  it  the 
convenient  Mecca  for  tea. 

Shall  I  ever  forget  that  first  arrival  which  I  had  pro- 
posed by  telegram  :  so  nervously  I  sat  on  the  verandah 
watching  alternately  my  young  daughter  in  elaborate 
gyrations  on  a  bicycle  and  the  grey-hatted  passenger 
in  the  double-horsed  landau  approaching  up  the  wind- 
ing road  to  the  open  front  door,  where  a  pompous 
porter  and  a  bowing  manager  held  themselves  in 
readiness  to  express  the  honour  the  proprietors  felt. 

"  That's  all  right,"  he  demurred,  as  he  made  his 
way  towards  my  approach,  no  doubt  quite  aware  of 
my  trepidation. 

"  Shall  I  have  any  power  to  amuse  him  "  was  the 
undercurrent  of  my  mind,  "  and  will  he  soon  be  sorry 
he  came  and  make  some  transparenj  excuse  for  leav- 
ing ?  "  I  was  amazed  at  my  audacity  in  inviting  him. 

I  need  not  have  been  uneasy,  his  tact  and  kindness 
would  always  tempt  him  to  say  most  emphatically, 
'  Very  interesting  "  at  the  moments  when  he  was 
superlatively  bored. 

Irving  was  a  man  of  few  words,  he  never  used  half 
a  dozen  when  four  would  serve,  and  three  were  the 
average  allotment  to  the  casual  acquaintance,  signifi- 
cant sounds  intervening  to  fill  any  blanks. 

I  have  been  told  that  when  Jowett  met  Irving,  who 


came  to  Oxford  to  express  his  approval  of  the  founda- 
tion of  the  O.U.D.S.,  everyone  was  anxious  to  know 
what  each  thought  of  the  other.  Irving,  when  ap- 
proached, hesitated,  "  Um,  reserved  I  should  say." 

Jowett  assailed  for  his  opinion  replied,  "  He  seems 
to  think  more  than  to  speak." 

I  am  almost  as  irritated  now  by  reports  of  Irving's 
reckless  verbosity  as  I  am  by  the  entirely  fictitious 
pathos  of  his  saying  good-bye  with  his  cat  to  the  stage 
door  of  the  Lyceum  Theatre.  The  animal  left  days 
before  he  did,  while  Irving  was  rejoicing  mightily  at 
an  opportunity  to  sever  himself  from  the  Limited 
Company,  which  had  been  founded  upon  his  name  ; 
indeed  he  had  joyfully  paid  £26,000  to  be  released 
from  the  toils. 

Again  my  indignation  is  aroused  by  narratives  which 
would  portray  him  as  sentimentalist,  an  eager  orator 
on  trivial  topics  and  a  gay  familiar  to  his  friends  and 
associates.  Though  his  letters  and  his  telegrams  were 
cordial,  even  affectionate,  he  rarely  addressed  anybody 
by  a  Christian  name  :  invariably  he  used  surnames. 
Toole,  his  closest  comrade,  was  never  "  Johnnie"  to 
him ;  Joe  Parkinson,  a  very  old  friend,  and  chairman  of 
the  Reform  Club,  was  always  "Parkinson";  Walter 
Collinson,  his  most  trusted  attendant,  was  alone 
"  Walter  "  to  his  constant  calling.  Never  was  Pinero 
"  Arthur,"  nor  Hatton  "  Joe,"  nor  Stoker  "  Bram," 
nor  Tree  "  Herbert."  When  he  spoke  of  Ellen  Terry 
he  called  her  Miss  Terry,  rarely  failing  to  add  "  a 
God-gifted  creature."  Yet  in  many  printed  pages  all 
these  and  more  have  been  given  intimate  names  by 

This  is  a  small  matter  but  indicative  of  the  lies  which 


spring  up  round  the  great  dead,  and  of  the  truth  of  the 
dictum,  "  What  everybody  says  nobody  knows/' 

Assuredly  very  few  knew  Irving,  though  many  relate 
with  gusto  of  long  interviews  with  him,  when  they 
had  given  him  counsel  on  productions  and  scenery, 
on  the  actors  he  should  engage  and  those  he  should 
dismiss.  "  Henry,  you  should  have  produced  Ibsen  " 
is  of  that  I-said-to-him  category,  recently  enraging  me 
from  the  mouth  of  a  man  who  would  scarcely  have 
had  the  pluck  to  bid  him  good  morning. 

Irving  was  unconsciously  formidable  and  detached. 
His  mien  and  his  manners  were  different  from  others, 
and  his  face  modelled  upon  super-ecclesiastical  lines 
set  him  apart  from  ordinary  walkers  by  the  ordinary 

His  right  environments  were  rocks  in  Cornwall,  or 
Gothic  cloisters,  or  dark  oak  screens,  beneath  a  high- 
framed  roof  curving  to  dim  walls  where  ancient  stained- 
glass  windows  in  stone  frames  stretch  their  jewelled 
lengths  to  catch  the  sunbeams. 

He  looked  like  all  the  best  bishops  ought  to  look, 
and  once  when  he  was  recuperating  at  Margate  after 
a  severe  illness,  and  we  had  driven  out  to  Canterbury 
to  meet  Dean  Farrar,  I  gazed  at  them  standing  together 
upon  those  fatal  steps  where  Becket  was  murdered, 
and  I  was  struck  by  the  undoubted  fact  that  the  Dean 
might  so  well  have  been  the  actor  and  the  actor  the 

I  remember  the  Dean  afterwards  suggested  tea  at 
the  Deanery,  and  a  return  to  the  Cathedral  later  to 
hear  him  preach  ;  but  living's  delicate  health  pro- 
hibited an  acceptance  of  the  invitation,  and  as  we  drove 
away  he  said  how  much  he  had  wanted  to  remain, 


adding  modestly,  "  I  think  he  would  have  liked  it 

He  smiled  when  I  hazarded,  "  No  doubt  he  would, 
as  you  would  have  desired  that  he  should  hear  your 
Louis  XI  had  he  strayed  within  the  precincts  of  the 
Lyceum  Theatre/' 

But  this  adventure  was  far  in  advance  of  our  fore- 
gathering at  Cromer.  However,  the  course  of  true 
narrative  never  runs  quite  straight,  and  my  best  critic 
carps  at  my  parenthetical  crime  in  mere  conversation, 
so  I  proceed  unabashed  to  justify  my  divergence,  in 
recalling  that  the  first  time  I  ever  saw  Irving  in  a 
Cathedral  was  at  Norwich,  where  he  made  pilgrimage 
from  Cromer  with  Sir  John  and  Lady  Hare,  their 
daughter  and  their  son  and  his  wife,  who  were  in  resi- 
dence at  the  hotel. 

Sir  John  was  an  ardent  devotee  to  croquet  and  his 
lady  a  dignified  and  beautiful  devotee  to  Sir  John. 
Other  distinguished  amongst  us  were  two  Siamese 
princes,  younger  brothers  of  the  present  King. 
Purachatra,  the  elder,  was  a  most  genial  youth,  Ugala, 
the  younger,  being  less  fluent  in  English,  showed  some 
timidity,  but  both  would  join  my  daughter  and  the 
other  youngsters  in  the  hall  where  an  absurd  game  of 
retrieving  potatoes  in  spoons  to  an  accompaniment  of 
wild  laughter  was  the  order  of  the  evenings. 

Oddly  enough  my  daughter  went  to  Bangkok  on  her 
marriage  to  a  Government  official  there,  and  Prince 
Purachatra  reminded  her  of  this  previous  meeting. 
They  came  across  each  other  once  more  in  London, 
when  during  the  war  he  had  been  denied  his  desire 
to  fight  for  England,  and  he  voiced  his  disappointment 
over  our  teacups,  whilst  an  inquisitive  score  of  urchins 


waited  round  his  little  square  car  to  gaze  in  wonder- 
ment at  the  Siamese  chauffeur,  hatless,  and  undaunted 
by  their  curiosity. 

It  seems  a  long  way  back  to  Cromer  where  Irving 
and  I  and  Laurence  sat  so  many  mornings  discussing 
the  scenes,  the  circumstance  and  the  cast  for  Peter  the 

"  What  about  a  less  gloomy  conclusion  ?  "  dared 
Irving  once  to  Laurence's  distress. 

"  No,  no,"  he  cried,  "  we  must  not  pander,  the 
rebellious  son  was  murdered,  and  we  cannot  hope 
Peter  was  remorseful." 

I  listened,  considerably  proud  of  my  privilege,  whilst 
Irving  read  a  scene  or  so  and  Laurence  sat  glowing 
with  hope,  but  never  interrupting  except  to  assure  his 
father  that  the  only  actress  in  the  world  who  could 
play  Euphrosyne,  the  young  heroine,  was  Ethel 
Barrymore,  and  he  would  smile  complacently  as  he 
pronounced  his  verdict,  for  he  was  deeply  in  love  with 
Ethel  Barrymore. 

When  Irving  and  I  skirted  warily  round  the  golf 
links  we  often  met  Lord  Suffield,  and  he  would  engage 
Irving  in  conversation  to  direct  his  attention  to  some 
adjoining  land  as  a  good  investment,  Lord  Suffield  at 
that  time  being  possessed  of  many  "  sites  " — desirable 
to  dispose  of.  He  was,  however,  more  amusing  when 
he  was  relating  his  experience  at  the  palace  of  Potsdam 
where  the  Empress  Frederick  was  laying  out  English 
gardens  without  much  applause  from  her  German 
people.  Further,  he  gave  us  virile  accounts  of  his 
guidance  of  the  beautiful  ill-fated  Empress  of  Austria, 
through  the  difficult  etiquette  of  the  English  hunting- 


Fussie,  the  terrier  I  disliked  because  my  soup  would 
grow  cold  in  its  bowl  whilst  his  appetite  was  coaxed, 
was  our  invariable  follower,  although  retrieving  sticks 
and  stones  did  not  improve  his  cough  nor  ease  his 
slight  limp.  Irving  was  devoted  to  the  little  beast, 
and  would  never  have  another  dog  after  he  died. 
Laurence  always  declared  that  Fussie  crept  away  and 
committed  suicide  through  a  hole  in  the  scenery 
because  his  father  spoke  crossly  to  him  during  re- 
hearsal. I  hope  he  rests  in  peace,  but  he  was  stuffed 
outside  all  canine  recognition,  so  that  he  vanished  from 
sight  to  remain  dear  to  memory. 

As  Irving  and  I  walked  at  the  slowest  pace  towards 
Overstrand  we  often  fell  to  talking  of  Clement  Scott 
and  of  his  supreme  knowledge  of  the  art  of  acting. 
Clement  Scott  and  I  had  drifted  into  friendship  under 
the  auspices  of  David  Anderson,  who  founded  a  school 
of  journalism  after  proving  his  rights  to  presidency  by 
his  political  leaders  in  The  Daily  Telegraph. 

I  had  conceived  a  tremendous  admiration  for 
Clement  Scott  when  I  had  been  sent  to  interview  him, 
and  he  had  greeted  me  with,  "  Never  mind  about  the 
interview.  I  will  write  that  for  you.  Let  me  show 
you  a  casket  just  arrived  with  the  message  of  the  Pope, 
and  then  I  will  read  to  you  The  Triumph  of  Time" 
Very  well  he  read  it  too,  beneath  the  light  of  candles, 
flaming  high  and  steady  in  the  stand  of  ecclesiastical 

I  had  great  respect  for  Clement  Scott  for  his  facility 
to  write  rapidly  an  illuminating  criticism,  and  I  was 
by  no  means  impervious  either  to  his  personal  charm. 
"  You  like  Scott  ?  "  asked  Irving  with  a  special  con- 
cern, for  some  controversy  was  then  raging  fiercely 


around  his  attack  upon  the  morality  of  the  stage,  and 
Irving  was  ever  a  passionate  protectionist  of  his 

"  You  think  that  he's  a  good  chap  ?  "  he  queried, 
and  we  argued  about  that  punctuating  with  "  fitful," 
"  emotional,"  "  enthusiastic  "  our  walk  to  the  "  Garden 
of  Sleep  "  which  had  inspired  Clement  Scott  to  verses 
arriving  at  an  incurable  popularity,  when  enhanced  by 
the  music  of  Isidore  de  Lara. 

Most  of  the  tower  of  the  "  Garden  of  Sleep  "  has 
toppled  over  into  the  sea,  but  I  possess  an  etching  done 
previous  to  its  last  moments.  Churches  and  windmills 
prevail  in  Norfolk,  but  the  miller  at  Overstrand  was 
sturdy  in  his  refusal  to  listen  to  the  entreaties  of  the 
vicar  that  he  should  worship  in  the  ordained  precincts. 

"  Noa,"  he  would  say,  "  God  can  hear  me  well 
enough  from  my  garden." 

Irving  nodded  his  acquiescence  when  he  heard  the 
argument,  while  he  was  leaning  over  the  gate  at  the  old 
mill-house  where  Swinburne  had  written,  and  he  was 
bending  towards  a  great  bed  of  flaunting  yellow  flowers 
to  express  his  perpetual  joy  in  vivid  colour. 

Often,  as  he  went  on  his  way  down  those  high- 
hedged  lanes,  he  would  note  the  courtesy  of  the 
villagers  and  gain  confidence  even  from  the  tramps, 
the  stone-breakers  and  the  gipsies.  He  would  seem 
to  possess  some  kinship  with  all  strollers,  and  in  solitary 
wanderings  he  would  sometimes  stay  his  footsteps  by 
an  old  vagabond  who  would  offer  a  share  of  a  mug  of 
cold  tea  with  a  lump  of  bread.  Irving  had  the  instinct 
when  not  to  give  money  as  surely  as  he  possessed  the 
desire  to  give  it. 

There  obtains  a  story  from  the   North  when   his 


munificence  had  been  somewhat  unfortunate.  Desir- 
ing to  go  out  upon  the  sea  for  a  couple  of  hours,  he 
hired  one  Tom  and  a  boat  to  his  pleasure,  rewarding 
the  toiler  with  no  less  than  five  pounds  which  he  had 
deemed  so  well  expended  that  eight  days  afterwards 
he  thought  he  would  repeat  the  experiment.  Sending 
down  to  the  beach  for  Tom,  he  was  informed,  "  Tom 
can't  come  out,  sir,  he's  been  a-bed  for  a  week  past." 

On  a  desolate  little  moor  in  Norfolk  there  was  a 
strange  little  shanty  where  a  poor  old  crone  held  rights 
over  oddments  of  china,  tambourines,  sweets  and 
tobacco,  and  straw  chairs. 

"  Pretty  teapot, "  he  pointed  out  to  me,  a  blue  and 
white  specimen  of  an  old-fashioned  shape. 

"  That  belonged  to  my  grandmother  ;  I  don't  know 
as  how  I  want  to  sell  it." 

"  Might  be  worth  two  pounds,"  reflected  Irving 

"  May  be  I  had  best  let  you  'ave  your  way  and  buy 


The  deal  came  to  a  conclusion,  and  as  I  was  watch- 
ing the  progress  of  the  packing  the  reluctant  seller 
patronised  me  with  : 

"  Nice  gentleman  you've  got,  mum." 

I  remonstrated,  "  Do  you  not  know  who  he  is  ? 
That  is  Henry  Irving,  the  great  actor." 

"  Lor,"  she  jerked  as  she  knifed  the  string  viciously, 
"  'im  an  actor,  and  he  looks  so  'appy  too." 

Evidently  her  opinion  of  the  theatre  was  a  mean 
one  :  and  in  another  part  of  Norfolk  a  no  more  flatter- 
ing view  seemed  to  prevail,  for  at  an  inn  at  North 
Walsham  the  parlourmaid,  recognising  her  customer, 
took  occasion  to  confide  to  me  : 


"  I  wanted  to  go  on  the  staige  once,  but  my  father 
he  says  to  me,  '  Don't  you  dare  or  I'll  put  you  in  an 
orphan  asylum.' ' 

Irving  was  wont  to  declare  that  I  made  up  such 
stories  for  his  entertainment,  but  this  was  a  false 
accusation ;  everywhere  we  went  produced  some 
incident  fraught  with  fun. 

We  took  one  very  long  drive,  when  Laurence  was 
with  us  again,  and  we  stopped  at  a  farm-house  for  tea, 
which  the  hostess  prepared  with  such  care  that  to 
please  her  we  pretended  to  enjoy  ploughing  through 
soddened  acres  of  empty  fields  interrupted  by  shabby 
barns  and  soiled  pigsties.  As  she  and  I  went  back  to 
the  parlour  Irving  whispered,  "  I  should  like  to  give 
her  something;  she  is  a  good  creature,  some  books 
perhaps  :  find  out  what  she  would  like." 

I  made  the  enquiry,  and  promising  a  signed  photo- 
graph, proposed,  "  Would  you  like  some  books  ?  " 

She  replied  decisively, "  No,  thank  you,  I  have  one." 

My  thoughts  flowed  reverentially. 

"  We  take  to  it  at  Christmas-time."  I  was  the  more 
impressed  by  the  certainty  that  book  was  the  Bible  ;  I 
could  see  it  in  its  black  binding,  gold-lettered,  all  ten- 
derly lifted  from  its  shelf,  and  I  was  rather  cast  down 
by  her  concluding  : 

"  It  is  East  Lynne  :  have  you  heard  of  it  ?  We  read 
it  aloud  in  the  winters  when  it  is  too  dark  to 

In  the  landau  later  I  recounted  my  miscarried  mis- 
sion. "  East  Lynne,  East  Lynne"  repeated  Irving, 
"  strange,"  and  he  fell  at  once  to  telling  me  that 
provincial  theatres  presented  the  play  continually. 

Laurence,   all  contempt,   and  knitting  his   brows 


severely  as  if  in  self-reproach,  "  They  ought  to  be 
taught  better/' 

Laurence  was  very  serious  on  the  didactic  duty  of 
the  drama,  and  as  we  drove  home  while  I  watched  him 
slip  into  meditation,  it  seemed  to  me  that  in  the  future 
he  might  grow  to  greater  likeness  to  his  father. 

"  Lovely  house  over  there,"  I  directed  attention  to 
a  red -roofed  building  in  a  deep  cup  of  trees  back- 
grounded by  the  shoulder  of  a  hill,  indigo  in  the 

"  Damp,"  decided  Irving. 

"  Dull,"  proclaimed  Laurence,  and  I  recognised  that 
at  least  the  monosyllabic  method  was  common  to 
them  both. 

But  Irving  had  more  expansive  moods,  and  no  inci- 
dent of  our  sojourn  in  Norfolk  stands  more  distinctly 
in  my  mental  vision  than  his  reading  of  Manfred  during 
a  terrific  thunderstorm. 

His  sitting-room  at  the  hotel,  being  on  a  high  floor, 
had  to  endure  the  full  force  of  the  elements.  The 
windows  rattled  violently  as  if  determined,  come  what 
may,  they  would  be  released  from  their  frames  ;  loud 
thunder  faithfully  followed  the  lightning,  which  zig- 
zagged across  a  darkling  crack  in  a  dusty  mirror  over 
the  mantelpiece  beneath  which  gusts  of  smoke  belched 
towards  the  table  to  blur  to  purple  the  crimson  flowers 
in  a  brazen  bowl ;  and  through  the  din,  the  snores  of 
Fussie,  the  screaming  sirens  and  the  loud  moanings 
of  the  sea  came  Irving 's  impressive  tones  to  thrill  me 
with  the  agonies  of  a  soul  in  hell. 

'  Well,  shall  I  do  it  ?  "  av/oke  me  from  the  awful 
depths  he  had  conjured.  "  Might  be  fine."  He 
revelled  in  the  prospect,  but  never  developed  it. 


To  /ac£  ^«ge  96 


Of  course  Irving's  presence  in  Cromer  provoked 
the  astute  in  the  philanthropic  direction,  and  the 
Cottage  Hospital  stood  forth  as  a  plausible  excuse  for 
a  concert  where  the  younger  visitors  should  play 
highwayman's  part  with  the  programme,  which  might 
be  relied  upon  to  include  a  beautiful  amateur  in  song, 
a  devoted  couple  in  a  contentious  dialogue,  a  brilliant 
boy  desecrating  Bach,  with  other  items  equally  alarm- 
ing to  be  suffered  in  all  charity. 

Irving  recited  "  The  Dream  of  Eugene  Aram  "  and 
"  The  Uncle/1  his  favourite  selections  for  such  occa- 
sions. The  wealthy  came  from  miles  around,  shep- 
herded by  Robert  Fenner,  doctor  to  the  hospital,  and 
he  and  I  attained  some  sympathy  with  each  other 
through  his  attitude  of  respect  and  admiration  for 
Irving,  who  gave  his  holiday  hours  so  generously  with 
other  evidence  of  his  determination  to  help  any  helpless. 
But  Irving  disliked  a  prolonged  holiday,  only  taking 
one  at  all  through  the  exigencies  of  business  or  for  the 
good  of  his  company.  He  endured  inactivity  bravely 
for  a  week,  but  after  that  he  counted  the  hours  wasted 
until  he  could  get  back  to  the  theatre,  and  he  chafed 
always  under  any  order  of  quiet  or  repose  which  he 
knew  full  well  he  needed. 

He  played  steadfastly  the  game  of  life,  being  of  an 
indomitable  courage  and  zeal.  When  at  work  he  never 
thought  of  himself,  giving  to  the  best  of  his  power  to 
the  last  inch  of  his  ability.  Of  his  stupendous  will 
power  many  instances  have  been  quoted,  none  more 
convincing  than  his  keeping  punctually  a  social  engage- 
ment after  a  doctor  had  let  slip  a  seven-inch-long  metal 
instrument  down  his  gullet  to  some  unrecoverable 


Surgeons  were  talked  of,  and  the  offender  was  frantic 
with  remorse  and  the  possible  results  of  his  careless- 
ness. Irving  had  indeed  to  comfort  him,  and  could 
only  do  so  by  promising  to  see  a  specialist.  "  Later 
in  the  day/'  he  pledged.  "  I  have  an  appointment  to 
keep  now,"  and  he  kept  it,  making  light  of  his 
mishap,  which  happily  culminated  without  damage 
during  a  violent  cough.  It  is  known  that  Irving. sent 
the  blunderer  a  double  fee,  and  hoped  he  had  not 
taken  the  matter  too  seriously. 



YOU  don't  know  my  boy  Harry,"  said  Irving 
on  the  stage  of  the  Lyceum  Theatre,  where 
we  had  been  bidden  to  supper  on  the  first 
night  of  Peter  the  Great,  and  I  looked  up  from  my 
Gunter's  chicken  sandwich  to  see  that  wonderful  pair 
standing  together,  the  father's  hand  on  the  son's  arm, 
whilst  his  voice  held  challenge,  "  I  dare  you  not  to 
like  each  other." 

We  not  alone  liked  each  other,  but  I  am  happy  in 
the  belief  that  we  loved  each  other,  and  the  agreement 
to  do  so  was  drawn  up  and  signed  and  sealed  by 
Dorothea,  Harry  Irving's  wife,  who  has  been  and  is 
to  me  amongst  my  nearest  and  my  dearest,  whose 
sympathy  never  fails  me,  whose  simple  sincerity 
makes  upright  mark  on  whatever  path  she  treads. 

Under  Harry's  guidance  that  night  I  took  my  first 
peep  into  the  famous  Beef  Steak  room  where  all  the 
notabilities,  foreign  potentates,  ambassadors,  poets  and 
prima  donnas,  explorers  and  travellers,  with  Prime 
Ministers  and  Royal  Princes  and  Princesses  had  at 
some  time  gathered  to  endorse  the  far-spread  tale  of 
Irving's  hospitality. 

The  walls  were  hung  with  famous  pictures,  none  as 
vitally  interesting  to  me  as  Whistler's  gallant  presen- 
tation of  Irving  as  Phillip  II,  which  is  now  in  the 



possession  of  America,  and  Sargent's  picture  of  Ellen 
Terry,  a  red-tressed  Lady  Macbeth,  all  aglow  in  green 
and  gold  and  jewels,  and  now  gracing  the  Tate  Gallery. 
Madame  Vestris  in  a  carved  and  gilded  frame  was 
another  gem,  although  the  signature  Thomas  Lawrence 
has  since  been  questioned  ;  and  there  were  dramatic 
landscapes  by  Frank  Miles,  and  scenes  in  Venice  by 
Cattermole,  and  a  dozen  more  giving  testimony  to  the 
labour  of  well-known  hands.  I  investigated  with  con- 
siderable respect  twelve  feet  of  hand-woven  linen 
thickly  embroidered  in  golden  squares  which  enclosed 
the  name  of  every  character  Irving  had  enacted  ;  this 
had  been  used  as  a  cloth  at  banquets  when  the  number 
of  guests  spread  to  the  stage,  and  I  reflected  upon  the 
love,  industry  and  skill  which  had  gone  to  its  making. 

Peter  the  Great  had  only  a  sentimental  success,  its 
"  takings ,"  to  use  the  language  of  the  box  office,  did 
not  total  within  thousands  of  the  cost  of  its  splendid 
production,  and  in  spite  of  the  facts  that  Queen 
Alexandra  commanded  a  special  performance,  and  an 
acre  of  print  hailed  its  historical  and  literary  value,  it 
was  allowed  but  a  short  period  to  fret  its  hour  upon 
the  boards. 

Only  a  full  house  satisfied  Irving,  who,  for  Laurence's 
sake,  was  bitterly  disappointed,  even  angry,  that  the 
play  did  not  attain  wide  popularity. 

"  Like  it  ?  Yes,  they  like  it,  but  they  don't  come," 
he  would  say,  and  an  old  programme  was  reinstated 
to  a  better  record  whilst  waiting  for  The  Medicine  Man, 
which  was  the  joint  work  of  H.  D.  Traill  and  Robert 
Hichens,  the  latter  telling  me  in  confidence  during 
rehearsals,  "  All  the  good  there  is  in  it  Irving  put 


When  in  town  Irving  took  few  hours  away  from  his 
theatre,  but  a  very  beautiful  morning  might  tempt 
him  to  a  drive  to  Hampstead  Heath,  a  favourite  spot 
of  his  when  the  hawthorn  was  in  bloom,  and  here  we 
were  once  followed  by  two  inquisitive  little  boys, 
endeavouring  to  recall  his  face  and  where  they  had 
seen  him. 

"  I  know,  Jim,"  said  the  smaller  triumphantly. 
"  He's  the  bounder  what  plays  The  Bells  "  :  not  quite 
an  adequate  description,  but  Irving  enjoyed  it  im- 

We  paid  frequent  visits  to  my  daughter  at  school 
near  town,  and  here  took  place  the  rare  ceremony  of 
christening  a  recently  purchased  pig,  Irving  standing 

"  Handsome, "  he  said,  peering  over  into  the  sty. 

"  Not  so  'andsome  as  you,  Sir  'enry,"  ventured  an 
obsequious  stockman. 

:<  I  suppose  not,"  he  chuckled,  and  all  regardless  of 
the  proprieties  due  to  the  sex  of  a  pig,  he  gave  the 
animal  the  name  of  Portia.  It  is  to  be  hoped  that  he 
grew  to  play  finely  his  different  parts  as  ham,  pork  and 

We  were  driving  through  Richmond  Park  on  one 
occasion  when  the  coachman  turned  on  his  seat  to 
point  with  his  whip  at  antlers  crouching  in  a  little 
herd  in  the  distance. 

"  Deer,  Sir  Henry." 

"  I  suppose  so,"  was  vouchsafed. 

That  coachman  was  a  queer  character  in  the 
employment  of  a  near  livery  stable,  and  not  the  sole 
property  of  Irving,  who  kept  no  carriage  of  his  own. 
He  would  invariably  take  upon  himself  to  act  as  host 


in  any  country  we  were  passing  through  ;  he  would 
introduce  Irving  to  the  sheep,  the  rabbits,  the  bridges, 
the  goats  and  the  ponds.  I  fancy  his  name  was  Harris, 
an  unimportant  item,  but  I  met  him  by  chance  long 
afterwards,  and  asked  whether  he  would  take  me  out 
to  a  dinner-party ;  he  touched  his  hat  with  solemnity, 
saying  : 

:<  I  shouldn't  like  to  be  driving  you  now,  Mum,  I've 
got  a  regular  job  with  an  undertaker." 

Unless  a  social  claim  persisted,  or  the  weather 
proved  too  abominable  to  be  faced,  Irving  and  I  drove 
together  every  Sunday  either  to  Harrow  or  to  Rich- 
mond, to  Epping  Forest,  to  Norwood,  or  to  Barnet, 
and  occasionally  in  the  spring-time  Harry  would 
accompany  us.  After  the  initial  ceremony,  seldom 
omitted  by  these  two,  of  stigmatising  critics  as  "  a 
hard-boiled  lot,"  they  agreed  to  find  their  fair  treat- 
ment difficult,  because  an  expressed  distrust  would 
condemn  the  artist  as  suffering  from  well-merited 
rebuke,  and  enthusiasm  for  their  work  in  their  presence 
would  be  open  to  suspicion  of  trying  to  beguile  the 
judge  and  corrupt  the  executioner. 

This  being  settled,  father  and  son  would  sit  opposite 
to  each  other,  Harry  upright,  Irving  deep  down  in  the 
corner  of  the  carriage,  and  become  absorbed  in  tales 
of  awful  crimes,  the  most  ingenious  murder  was 
supremely  to  their  taste,  the  bloodier  the  better,  the 
most  artful  and  deliberate  the  best,  the  technique  of 
the  affair  being  the  supreme  point  for  argument. 

Harry  listened  while  Irving  told  of  the  old  Thurtell 
and  Weare  case,  with  pork  chops  for  supper  while  the 
poor  corpse  was  chivied  from  pond  to  sack  and  sack 
to  chaise  ;  and  Harry  in  his  turn  enchanted  his  father 


with  the  psychology  of  Charles  Peace,  commenting  with 
considerable  ability  upon  the  value  of  the  procedure 
of  French  law,  and  remarking  how  strange  it  was  in 
the  histories  of  all  crimes  to  find  that  no  villain  was 
without  a  feminine  companion,  who  loved  him  very 
dearly  despite  or  because  of  his  unmitigated  brutality. 
Both  men  looked  whimsically  to  me  for  some  ex- 
planation not  forthcoming,  but  I  quoted  : 

"  She  was  a  harlot  and  he  was  a  thief, 
But  they  loved  each  other  beyond  belief." 

"  Women  do  not  love  men  for  what  they  are,  but 
for  what  they  think  they  are  or  hope  they  may  become 
to  them  exclusively.  We  make  and  fit  your  haloes,"  I 

That  murder  held  irresistible  attraction  for  Irving 
was  often  proved  in  his  work,  but  he  would  invest  the 
most  abominable  wretch  with  some  tender  touch  of 
redemption.  "  Shy  lock  "  he  declared  to  be  "  the  only 
gentleman  in  the  Merchant  of  Venice"  and  by  accen- 
tuating the  pathos  of  his  loneliness  he  persuaded  us  to 
believe  him. 

Mathias  in  The  Bells  was  the  kindest  of  fathers,  the 
most  benevolent  of  citizens  ;  the  dastardly  Dubosc  was 
drink-sodden  and  hunger-driven  to  his  crimes  ;  Mac- 
beth was  a  visionary  and  never  an  assassin,  and  when 
Irving  recited  "  The  Dream  of  Eugene  Aram  "  he 
artfully  contrived  by  the  misery  he  dealt  him  to  get 
our  sympathy  for  the  haunted  schoolmaster. 

But  I  do  not  dwell  upon  Irving's  subtle  acting, 
which  was  always  magnetic  and  earned  universal 
acknowledgment,  his  work  and  his  genius  are  for  others 
to  acclaim.  I  felt  ever  when  listening  to  him,  on  or 


off  the  boards,  his  morally  elevating  tendency,  his  pos- 
session of  the  highest  ideals,  and  the  true  aestheticism 
which  was  his  with  an  artistic  intellectual  completeness. 

He  had  in  his  desk  a  modern  play  on  murder,  and 
he  often  showed  some  desire  to  enact  the  hero,  who 
had  been  falsely  imprisoned  as  a  murderer  in  the  first 
act,  and  was  liberated  to  become  one  in  the  following 
act,  when  he  discovered  his  wife  had  been  driven  by 
hunger  into  the  hands  of  a  "  bully,"  threatening  the 
happiness  of  his  daughter,  and  driving  his  son  into 
bright  red  Socialism. 

I  was  much  in  favour  of  this  when  he  read  it  to  me, 
and  regretted  his  unalterable  decision  that  he  was  too 
old  to  present  such  sordid  pictures.  He  inclined  then 
exclusively  to  sweetness  and  to  light. 

My  mother  and  my  family  grew  devoted  to  Irving, 
never  unmindful  of  the  honour  he  did  us  by  his  friend- 
ship, and  I  recall  Julia's  telegram  after  our  first  meeting 
in  Cromer  :  "  Grapple  him  to  your  soul  with  hooks 
of  steel."  But  such  violent  counsel  was  scarcely  due, 
for  his  intimacy  with  us  was  so  soon  established  that 
he  would  come  in  at  odd  hours  and  all  unexpected, 
would  occasionally  find  an  incongruous  party  as- 
sembled. On  one  merry  morning  in  May  there  was  a 
group  of  gossiping  women  present  whilst  he  and  my 
mother  sat  on  opposite  sides  of  the  fireplace,  her  gold- 
rimmed  spectacles  pushed  up  on  to  her  forehead, 
whilst  his  pince-nez  had  slipped  half-way  down  his 
nose.  The  room  hummed  with  discussion  on  the 
peccadilloes  of  a  well-born  girl,  who  had  been  in- 
discreet in  her  outgoings  and  homecomings,  in  her 
letters  and  in  her  boon  companions. 

"  What  do  you  think  about  her,  Sir  Henry  ?  "  said 


my  mother,  looking  over  her  glasses  which  she  held 
an  inch  away  from  her  eyes. 

Irving  pressed  the  steel  arch  of  his  firmly  across  the 
bridge  of  his  nose,  and  made  monumental  reply. 

"  Strumpet,  madam. " 

James  was  ever  prone  to  wonder  how  Irving  could 
endure  my  flippancy,  but  on  the  strength  of  that  belief 
he  ventured  to  explain  to  him  that  his  writing  for  the 
stage  held  no  other  purpose  than  to  fill  his  pockets. 
Irving  remonstrated  with  him,  and  assured  him  of  his 
ability  to  achieve  something  better,  if  yet  upon  the 
same  lines  he  pursued. 

"  No,  no,"  said  James.  "  I  am  not  rich  enough  to 
make  experiments,"  and  he  added  with  a  twinkle, 
'  You  see,  Sir  Henry,  Fm  out  for  the  box  office  and 
you  for  a  tomb  in  Westminster  Abbey." 

Irving  shook  his  head  indulgently,  whilst  deciding  : 

*  There  will  be  nothing  of  the  sort  this  century,  no 
actor  will  be  buried  in  Westminster  Abbey." 

This  was  an  instance  when  his  gift  of  prophecy 
failed,  but  nevertheless  he  possessed  one,  and  a  care- 
fully concealed  ability  to  sum  up  people  and  circum- 
stances at  their  proper  value,  this  power  growing  more 
pronounced  as  he  became  older. 

A  devoted  mother  with  an  apparently  devoted  son 
brought  my  comment  on  the  rarity  and  beauty  of  such 
perfect  companionship  in  their  relations. 

Shrewdly  he  looked  at  them  whilst  he  pronounced, 
'  That  boy  will  have  her  eyeballs  " — and  sure  enough 
he  did. 

Again,  when  he  attended,  at  the  request  of  Tree,  one 
of  the  first  meetings  held  to  discuss  the  National  fund 
for  the  National  Theatre. 


"  Um,  um,  um,  very  good,  I  will  go,  do  what  I  can, 
but  there  would  be  a  better  chance  for  a  National 
Music  Hall  and  a  statue  of  George  Edwardes  in  the 
lobby. "  And  this  opinion  must  have  been  uttered 
some  eighteen  years  ago  or  even  more. 

Irving  would  often  say  that  life  had  taught  him 
patience,  but  it  was  not  true,  he  never  had  any,  either 
to  listen  to  counsel  or  to  change  any  determination  he 
made  ;  there  was  no  power  behind  his  throne  ;  he 
occupied  it  and  surrounded  it  himself. 

"  Let  there  be  Coriolanus,  and  there  was  Corio- 
lanus"  although  many  argued  it  not  to  the  public 
taste.  "  Let  there  be  Dante,  and  there  was  Dante" 
was  a  plan  he  refused  to  alter  under  much  persuasion 
and  a  mountain  of  difficulties  which  might  have  made 
Hannibal  pause.  For  years  he  had  desired  a  play  on 
Dante,  had  asked  Tennyson  to  do  one  for  him,  but 
Tennyson  had  refused,  making  answer  : 

"  It  wants  a  Dante  to  write  it,"  which  impressed 
Irving  very  much,  but  did  not  move  his  resolution. 

He  was,  however,  not  unconscious  of  his  failures, 
nor  unmindful  of  the  conduct  of  his  associates,  and 
he  had  always  a  keen  sense  of  proportion,  never  being 
overwhelmed  by  a  commendation  nor  for  that  matter 
by  a  criticism,  appraising  both  with  equal  acumen. 
After  the  most  thunderous  applause  had  sounded  and 
echoed  and  resounded  again  through  the  theatre  and 
for  fifteen  times  he  had  appeared  before  the  curtain 
to  reply  by  reverential  bow,  kiss  of  hand,  and  his 
modest  tag,  "  I  am  your  loving  and  your  grateful 
servant,"  he  might  be  seen  sitting  in  his  chair  calmly 
creaming  the  blue  from  his  face,  and  judging,  "  Too 
much  of  it,  too  much  of  it." 


Reproduced  by  gracious  permission  of  its  owner,  Mrs.  Bram  Stoker. 

To  face  page  106 


To  that  dressing-room  difficult  of  access  under  the 
guardianship  of  the  faithful  Walter,  an  American  lady 
of  some  thirty  summers  pushed  her  way  in  the  com- 
pany of  a  girl  of  twenty. 

Irving  rose  to  greet  them  with  evident  surprise  that 
she  should  have  thus  dared,  when  she  advanced  as 
even  the  best  Americans  will,  with  the  autobiographical 
note  in  her  speech. 

"  My  !   Sir  Henry,  I  have  got  such  a  toothache." 

Irving  looked  at  her  with  amazement,  and  smoothing 
his  chin  with  his  hand,  a  common  custom  of  his,  he 
turned  to  the  girl,  cool  mischief  in  his  eyes  : 

"  Your  daughter,  madam  ?  "  knowing  full  well  that 
their  ages  precluded  any  9  such  possibility  and  being 
anxious  somehow  to  bring  discomfiture  to  the  ego- 
tistical intruder. 

Irving  had  few  idle  evenings  except  during  the  earlier 
rehearsals  of  a  new  play  or  of  a  time-honoured  revival ; 
but  one  memorable  night  when  I  had  persuaded  him 
to  take  me  to  witness  The  Cat  and  the  Cherub,  and  we 
were  sitting  in  the  box  waiting  for  the  curtain  to  go 
up  on  the  succeeding  farce,  a  commissionaire  came  in 
with  a  note  and  waited  as  if  for  an  answer. 

*  That's  all  right,  my  boy,"  and  the  ever-ready 
five  shillings  was  given  into  his  hand. 

But  Irving  put  the  letter  into  his  pocket  unopened, 
and  the  man  stood  by  signalling  to  me  that  the  missive 
was  important. 

"  Why  don't  you  look  at  it  ?  "  I  asked. 

"  I  never  open  letters  in  public." 

The  commissionaire  whispered,  "  There  is  bad 
news,  mum,  make  him  read  it." 

And  bad  news  it  was  indeed,  sent  him  by  one  of  the 


many  devoted  who  had  taken  some  trouble  to  find  the 
whereabouts  of  Irving  so  that  he  would  get  no  shock 
when  he  heard  the  cry  in  the  streets,  "  Murder  of 
William  Terriss  !  " 

"  Poor  chap  !  Poor  chap  !  >:  Irving  was  deeply 
distressed.  Terriss  had  acted  with  him  for  years,  he 
had  always  been  fond  of  him,  considered  him  the  ideal 
hero  of  romance,  declared  he  looked  it  as  few  others 
could,  and  "  Poor  chap,  poor  chap  "  was  reiterated 
again  and  again  whilst  we  pretended  to  eat  our  supper. 

And  the  cry  found  echo  in  my  heart,  for  I  was  a 
great  admirer  of  Terriss,  meeting  him  often  when  he 
was  in  pursuit  of  no  other  calling  than  his  cards  at 
poker  after  a  midday  breakfast  provided  by  the 
Lumleys  ;  and  I  pause  to  pay  Gertie  Lumley  tribute 
as  one  of  those  rare  women  whose  car  is  always  going 
the  way  her  friends  want  to  go,  whose  hand  is  ever 
ready  to  help  them  into  it. 

Most  characteristic  of  Irving  were  his  actions  during 
the  days  which  followed  the  murder  of  William 

He  was  commanded  to  bear  the  widow  the  Royal 
message  of  condolence  from  Queen  Victoria,  and  he 
performed  this  office  promptly  with  all  respect  and 
true  sympathy  ;  but  on  the  day  of  the  funeral  he 
yielded  to  an  impulse  to  convey  to  the  graveside 
Jessie  Milward,  who  had  been,  poor  girl,  the  comrade 
of  William  Terriss,  and  the  leading  lady  in  the  drama 
proceeding,  when  he  was  assassinated.  Here  Irving 
was  Christ,  protector  of  the  weak,  a  shelter  against 
slander,  a  solace  for  the  sorrow-stricken,  a  stand-by 
for  an  afflicted  people. 

There  was  not  a  member  in  the  theatrical  world  in 


the  crowd  which  followed  the  murdered  man  to  his 
last  resting-place  who  did  not  fall  in  worshipful 
admiration  of  Irving  when  they  noted  the  tenderness 
which  went  to  his  shepherding.  No  one  but  Irving 
could  have  done  this,  and  no  less  typical  of  him  was 
his  assertion  that  the  assassin  would  not  be  hanged. 

'  They  will  find  some  excuse  to  get  him  off,"  he 
would  say,  "  mad  or  something.  Terriss  was  an  actor, 
his  murderer  will  not  be  executed. " 

Irving  played  a  prodigious  part  in  social  life,  giving 
many  entertainments  of  diplomatic  significance,  and 
one  of  these  went  to  the  fitting  welcome  for  the  Indian 
guests  at  the  time  of  the  Coronation.  The  Lyceum 
Theatre  presented  a  gorgeous  appearance,  with  scarlet 
the  prevailing  colour,  and  masses  of  flowers  flanking 
the  steps  to  the  stage,  the  most  conspicuous  feature 
being  an  enormous  Union  Jack  formed  of  hundreds  of 
red,  white  and  blue  lights,  stretching  across  the  front 
of  the  dress  circle,  while  crimson  velvet  hung  at  the 
back  and  huge  palms  entwined  their  pointed  leaves  to 
cover  the  footlights.  It  was  a  wonderful  sight,  and 
Irving,  standing  with  a  son  on  either  side  of  him,  and 
Lord  Aberdeen  and  Richard  Seddon,  the  Premier  of 
New  Zealand,  in  the  rear,  played  the  gracious  host  as 
only  he  could,  to  a  procession  of  highnesses  from  all 
parts  of  the  East  wearing  their  native  garb  and 
jewelled  turbans  of  blazing  magnificence. 

But  what  struck  me  more  than  any  pomp  and  cir- 
cumstance there,  was  the  attention  Irving  contrived  to 
pay  to  the  nobodies,  his  affectionate  greeting  to  his 
old  friends,  and  his  concern  for  their  refreshment  and 
well-being.  One  little  man  with  whom  he  had  been 
associated  in  his  short  commercial  days  was  signalled 


out  for  special  courtesy,  and  it  is  rather  sad  to  chronicle 
that  in  the  after  years  when  that  little  man  came  to  die 
he  left  a  proviso  in  his  Will  that  none  should  inherit 
if  in  any  way  connected  with  the  stage.  Irving  laughed 
at  that,  and  ejaculated,  "  Silly  fellow  !  "  but  he  felt 
injured  and  insulted  all  the  same. 

Many  hours  of  Irving's  existence  in  town  were 
occupied  in  unveiling  monuments,  presiding  or  being 
honourably  received  at  important  banquets,  sub- 
mitting to  photographers  for  whom  he  had  no  great 
regard,  and  visiting  Toole,  for  whom  he  had  an  un- 
alterable affection.  I,  who  did  not  meet  Toole  until 
he  was  a  decrepit,  inarticulate  invalid,  found  it  difficult 
to  understand  the  love  between  these  two.  And  what 
a  miserable  meeting  it  was,  saved  only  from  disaster 
by  Harry's  presence.  Harry  talked  to  his  father 
whilst  I,  endeavouring  to  bring  myself  to  some  com- 
prehension of  Toole 's  mental  condition,  fell  to  utter 
grief  when  I  showed  him  a  little  gold  locket  containing 
Irving's  portrait,  which  had  been  sent  to  me  during 
a  trip  in  America.  Unfortunately  Irving  had  given 
Toole  an  exactly  similar  trinket,  and  the  poor  old 
fellow  burst  into  tears  of  distress.  We  had  great  diffi- 
culty in  soothing  him  ;  he  regarded  me  so  suspiciously 
as  his  rival  that  Harry  could  only  overcome  the  awk- 
wardness of  the  situation  by  suggesting  that  I  looked 
tired  and  he  would  take  me  home  ;  and  we  left  Toole 
growing  happy  with  Irving's  arm  around  his  shoulders. 
But  Toole  never  wanted  to  see  me  again ;  although  I 
tried  to  coax  him  with  flowers  and  a  privately  taken 
portrait  of  Irving,  he  rejected  all  my  advances. 

It  satisfied  my  sense  of  the  importance  of  dress 
when  I  brought  the  topic  to  Irving's  notice,  encouraged 


by  the  unimpeachable  punctiliousness  and  neatness  of 
his  own  attire.  He  never  failed  to  wear  elegantly  the 
correct  costume  at  the  correct  time,  his  frock-coat,  his 
grey  tweed  clothes  were  of  exactly  the  length  to  suit 
his  long  spare  outlines,  the  neckties  of  sympathetic 
character,  and  on  all  his  coats  he  adopted  those  close- 
fitting  sleeves  which  attracted  my  notice  the  first  time 
I  saw  him.  His  hats  told  their  own  story,  the  hard 
high-crowned  felt  was  decorous  even  when  tilted 
slightly  over  to  the  right  eyebrow,  his  top-hat  reflected 
in  its  brilliant  surface  and  scarcely  curved  brim  a  whole 
century  of  dignified  dandyism,  and  the  soft  drab  felt 
of  his  holiday  times  was  a  rascal  with  a  half-inch 
square  deliberately  jagged  away  for  ventilation.  It 
must  be  related  that  Irving  did  not  have  much  respect 
for  his  own  jewellery,  although  he  was  a  great  admirer 
of  Guiliano,  and  his  favourite  wedding  presents  were 
of  enamel  achieved  by  this  artist,  or  a  close  cluster  of 
garnets  from  the  same  source. 

Yet  he  would  permit  the  small  circlet  of  diamonds 
he  wore  on  his  little  finger  to  suffer  from  the  loss  of  a 
stone  or  even  two,  and  his  evening  watch-chain  of 
enamel  and  pearls  I  have  known  as  a  cripple  tied 
together  with  string.  Although  faithfully  making  his 
jewelled  offerings  to  brides,  he  never  attended  a  wed- 
ding, too  sadly  conscious  of  the  sorry  ending  of  his 

Of  theatrical  costume  Irving  once  said  to  me,  "  You 
may  take  it  as  a  general  rule  that  whatever  is  right, 
looks  right ;  and  it  is  obvious  you  would  not  choose 
sky-blue  and  silver  for  a  murderer,  nor  black  for 
Ophelia,  nor  present  Hamlet  in  green  silk,  nor  Lady 
Macbeth  in  pink  satin. "  He  observed  dress  off  the 


stage,  had  strict  rules  of  his  own  on  its  appropriateness 
to  place  and  person,  and  he  suspected  all  new  fashions 
of  being  silly. 

When  Irving  was  at  work  upon  a  play  he  devoted 
himself  to  the  study  of  any  period  he  would  illustrate, 
he  would  pore  over  huge  books  of  costume  and  read 
all  available  histories  and  biographies  to  attain  the 
desired  atmosphere.  His  dress  for  Dante  gave  tre- 
mendous anxiety  because  of  the  difficulty  of  obtaining 
the  brown  and  travel-stained  purple  he  was  convinced 
would  be  most  appropriate,  and  hopefully  I  spent  a 
few  days  in  the  search,  even  securing  fabric  and  a  doll 
as  model  to  arrange  the  drapery  and  cowl.  Irving 
expressed  himself  delighted  with  the  result,  and 
decided  as  surreptitiously  as  he  could  to  use  some- 
thing totally  different. 

Excepting  to  suit  his  purpose,  he  was  on  the  whole 
reluctant  to  investigate  any  new  author,  although 
Laurence  successfully  urged  him  to  a  study  of  all  the 
most  morbid  Russians ;  he  would  turn  with  greater 
pleasure  to  his  heavy  old  volumes,  or  to  Dickens,  or  to 
Shakespeare,  or  to  biographies,  and  he  had  tremendous 
consignments  of  daily  newspapers,  of  magazines, 
reviews,  detective  stories  and  reports  of  criminal 
trials  and  modern  tragedies.  I  cajoled  him  once  into 
reading  Oscar  Wilde's  play,  The  Duchess  of  Padua. 

"  Oscar,"  I  suggested,  "  had  certainly  read  the 
Merchant  of  Venice."  Significantly  he  responded, 
"  I  expect  so,  and  thought  little  of  it." 

I  only  heard  one  dissentient  voice  to  the  general 
verdict  of  appreciation  of  Irving 's  physical  charms, 
and  this  came  from  a  hospital  nurse,  promptly  deported 
for  incompatibility. 


She  stood  opposite  a  portrait  of  him  on  my  table, 
commenting,  "  I  am  told  he  is  a  hard,  cruel  man,  and 
he  looks  it." 

Perhaps  she  would  have  mitigated  the  decision  if 
she  had  read  the  inscription  from  Othello  :  "  Hail  to 
thee,  lady,  and  the  grace  of  heaven  before,  behind  thee 
and  on  every  hand  enwheel  thee  round. "  Some 
pleasant  feeling  at  least  went  to  that  dedication. 



A  PER  an  illness  with  septic  symptoms  it  was 
considered  advisable  that  Irving  should  move 
from  his  eyrie  in  Grafton  Street  to  a  flat  in 
Stratton  Street,  and  the  accumulations  of  years  were 
dug  out  to  the  discovery  of  a  surplus  of  treasures  im- 
possible to  be  contained  comfortably  in  less  space  than 
was  afforded  by  the  two  suites  Irving  had  occupied 
so  long. 

Regretfully  he  decided  to  part  with  some  of  his  books 
and  a  few  pictures,  and  it  was  then  I  received  thank- 
fully a  beautiful  pastel-portrait  by  John  McClure 
Hamilton  which  had  aroused  much  admiration  in 
various  exhibitions  here  and  in  America.  Now,  in 
mellow  grey  perfection  with  tossed  locks  above  pent 
eyebrows  and  a  forehead  of  rarely  faithful  modelling, 
this  excellent  presentment  of  Irving  looks  down  upon 
me  from  a  wall  of  my  favourite  sitting-room. 

Shifting  his  possessions  proved  a  terribly  arduous 
business,  although  there  were  three  willing  slaves 
requisitioned  to  the  task.  Irving,  having  ordained 
that  crimson  was  to  be  the  dominant  note  of  his  new 
dwelling,  and  this  being  faithfully  applied  to  the  walls 
of  the  spacious  entrance,  to  the  corridor,  and  to 
the  carpet,  he  cared  about  no  other  details  than 
the  righteous  bestowal  of  Whistler's  and  Sargent's 



pictures  and  the  proper  fittings  for  his  innumerable 

He  was  an  unconscious  hindrance  to  active  advance, 
for  he  would  wander  towards  a  pile  of  volumes  in  the 
corner,  and  extracting  one,  would  ignore  the  prevailing 
chaos,  pushing  all  intruding  parcels  on  to  the  floor 
while  he  sat  at  the  far  end  of  the  super-sized  sofa  and 
read,  his  long  finger  marking  his  place  when  he  looked 
up  sharply  resentful  should  an  unpacker  venture  to 
dump  to  his  disturbance,  or  a  carpenter  presume  to 
hammer  a  nail. 

"  No  knocking  ;  I  can't  have  that  knocking." 

Knocking  was  his  bugbear,  and  the  manager  of  every 
hotel  where  he  visited  was  warned  of  this  by  the  de- 
voted custodian  dresser-valet  Walter.  Disregarding  the 
chance  that  such  noise  might  proceed  from  a  necessary 
mending  of  a  lift,  or  the  erection  of  some  adjacent 
building  which  was  contracted  to  finish  at  a  certain 
time,  Walter  would  ordain  : 

"  No  knocking,  he  can't  bear  knocking,"  and  until 
Irving  was  out  of  his  room  in  the  mornings  no  knocking 
took  place. 

How  the  magic  was  worked  it  is  not  difficult  to  guess, 
but  no  knocking  was  the  order,  and  in  fixing  up  his 
apartments  we  had  to  wait  to  hang  the  pictures  and 
establish  the  bookcases  until  Irving  had  gone  down  to 
the  theatre. 

When  completed  the  flat  had  a  lordly  air,  the  crimson 
walls  interrupted  by  a  stained-glass  window  with  a 
sill  bearing  fine  bronzes  amid  vases  of  majolica,  while 
the  soft  pink  drawing-room  was  definitely  French  in 
the  pattern  of  its  brocade  and  its  carved  gilt  frames, 
and  the  large  dining-room,  endowed  with  magnificent 


specimens  of  blue  and  gold  Chinese  embroidery,  con- 
tained amongst  its  straight  close  rows  of  pictures  a 
fine  study  by  Clint  of  the  weird,  wild  face  of  Edmund 
Kean,  always  the  prominent  "  lead  "  in  Irving's  his- 
trionic heroes. 

He  stood  gazing  at  it  to  deplore  that  the  actor  is 
bound  to  get  less  than  justice  from  a  generation  who 
never  saw  him,  that  it  is  his  fate  to  be  judged  by  echoes 
which  are  altogether  delusive  when  he  has  passed  out 
of  immediate  ken,  and  he  added  reflectively,  "  Some 
fifty  years  hence  some  old  fool  will  be  saying,  there 
never  was  an  actor  like  Irving." 

He  strolled  then  deliberately  to  the  door  to  call 
"  Walter  "  with  that  deep  note  on  the  first  syllable 
peculiar  to  him,  and  a  whispered  instruction  brought 
forward  a  lace  collar,  which  Kean  had  worn  in  Hamlet, 
and  an  old  lady  had  sent  with  a  letter  inscribed, 
"  Bought  in  London  with  the  Hamlet  dress  about  the 
year  1835.;' 

*  Wear  it,  you  wear  it,"  Irving  said  in  full  flattery 
of  my  respect  for  the  traditions  of  the  stage,  yet  not 
suspecting  I  should  deem  such  conduct  sacrilege. 

One  of  our  shorter  expeditions  during  that  summer 
had  been  to  Stratford-on-Avon  after  I  had  been 
discovered  sadly  wanting  in  the  experience. 

It  is  strange  to  recall  the  vague  discontent  in  my 
first  impression  of  this  shrine  of  a  million  pilgrims. 

I  understood  and  appreciated  the  reverent  labour 
which  had  gone  to  its  complete  equipment,  its  meti- 
culous arrangement  of  all  available  documents,  pic- 
tures, deeds  and  letters,  but  the  very  perfection  of 
their  orderliness  banished  all  glamour,  my  mind  re- 
fused to  reconstruct  the  period,  and  while  I  could 


Reproduced  by  gracious  permission  of  its  owner,  Mrs.  Bratn  Stoker 

To  face  page  116 


grasp  the  hands  of  the  trustees  realising  the  work  they 
had  so  admirably  accomplished,  I  could  not  sense  the 
inspiration,  never  the  time  and  place  and  the  loved  one 

We  followed  the  accepted  rules  but  omitting  to 
purchase  oddments  achieved  from  that  amazing  old 
mulberry  tree,  which  flourishes  to  multiplication  as 
prodigious  as  King  Charles'  oak,  and  the  beds  occupied 
for  one  night  by  Queen  Elizabeth.  We  refused  to 
enjoy  "  a  back  view  of  Miss  Corelli's  stables,"  but  we 
visited  the  birth-house,  which  has  some  fragrance  in 
its  bareness,  gazed  at  the  Memorial  Garden  of  Shake- 
speare's flowers  plucking  their  significance  of  the 
immediate  present,  and  driving  duly  to  Ann  Hathaway 's 
Cottage,  where  doubt  of  the  identity  of  the  settle 
whereon  the  divine  William  had  sat  to  woo  the  not 
quite  divine  Arm,  seemed  of  small  import. 

Emotion  was  only  within  the  church,  and  the 
approach-way  was  beset  with  the  tread  of  many  foot- 
steps, while  the  air  echoed  harsh  tones  twanging  facts 
from  guide-books.  How  wonderful  it  might  have 
been  to  kneel  alone  in  the  twilight  before  the  bust  in 
the  niche  near  the  chancel  where  the  remains  are 
buried  beneath  that  epitaph  of  menace  which  has 
preserved  them  to  eternal  rest. 

A-flutter  with  birds  were  the  elms  to  the  banks  of 
the  gently  flowing  Avon,  but  the  little  black  steamers 
puffed  William  Shakespeare,  Ltd.,  four-fifths  of  the 
shares  allotted  to  the  United  States  with  Washington 
Irving  in  the  chair. 

I  do  not  know  what  I  wanted,  but  white  palfreys 
went  to  it  mounted  by  velvet-clad  riders. 

"  Might    have    an    Armada    in    the    Avon    with 


Mr.  Parker  as  an  admiral  in  command,"  I  was 

Over  the  teacups  in  the  famous  Red  Horse  Inn  it 
was  something  to  escape  the  tale  of  Sir  Thomas  Lucy 
and  deer  poaching  in  his  park,  since  this  was  inevit- 
able in  the  library  where  the  picture  of  magistrate 
and  marauder  hangs. 

Now  I  grasp  as  I  write  the  secret  of  my  dissatisfac- 
tion. It  was  encouraged  in  that  library  catalogue, 
which  so  honourably  sets  forth  "  artist  unknown," 
"  likeness  in  doubt,"  "  attributed  to,"  "  date  unfixed," 
"  probably  a  portrait  "  ;  nothing  before  the  eighteenth 
century  seeming  absolutely  certain.  Stratford  was  a 
mausoleum  I  mistrusted.  Not  one  actuality  of  old 
came  to  life.  The  doors  of  the  tombs  remained 
closed,  the  spirit  within  and  never  without. 

But  the  afternoon  had  held  some  instruction  in  the 
fatigue  which  may  wait  upon  fame,  in  the  penalty 
which  has  to  be  paid  for  greatness. 

Irving  adored  Americans  and  indeed  America,  never 
failing  in  grateful  acknowledgment  of  their  deep 
affection  for  him,  always  regarding  their  troubles  as 
his  own,  so  that  no  news  of  disaster  by  earthquake, 
flood  or  war  ever  came  from  the  other  side  without 
exciting  his  distress  with  a  desire  to  enrol  himself 
amongst  the  active  sympathisers. 

Crowds  of  Americans  ran  after  him  that  day,  twenty 
times  or  more  he  was  stopped  for  an  immediate  grant 
of  his  autograph  ;  books  attached  to  pencils  were  thrust 
upon  him  at  every  corner,  even  at  the  railway  station 
after  we  were  entrained  and  waiting  to  start  away. 

One  little  boy,  fully  equipped  for  his  job,  ran  panting 
to  the  carriage  door. 


"  I  say,  ss-ir,  ww-ill  you  sign  here  ?  father  is  coming 
along,  but  he  does  not  run  as  fast  as  me  ;  he  ssays  he 
wwants  your  autograph — because  " — and  here  a  very 
bad  stammer  impeded  all  utterance — "  he's  so  often — 
sso  often  heard  you  pr-each." 

Irving  smiled  amiably  upon  everybody,  his  hat  was 
scarcely  upon  his  head  for  two  consecutive  moments, 
whilst  I  was  wondering  with  unjustifiable  cynicism 
how  much  about  Shakespeare,  except  as  a  respectable 
tradition  or  as  a  commercial  proposition  to  bring  grist 
to  the  town  mill,  did  all  these  hectic  hurrying  people 
know  or  mind. 

Back  to  me  came  the  tale  of  the  old  labpurer  who 
had  passed  his  life  showing  visitors  the  way  to  the 
various  places  of  interest. 

"  Who  was  this  Shakespeare  ?  "  had  been  answered 
by  a  prolonged  scratch  of  the  head  and  a  dubious,  "  I 
doan't  know  'zactly,  but  I  believe  he  writ  the  boible." 

"  You  did  not  care  much  about  it,"  Irving  said  when 
we  were  all  dining  at  Leamington  that  evening. 
"  You'll  like  Kenilworth  Castle  better,"  he  prophesied 
justly  when  the  next  day  found  us  in  front  of  that 
vacant  old  shell  which  it  seemed  easy  to  people  with 
gallants  and  turnkeys  with  Amy  Robsart  in  distress 
with  the  Earl  of  Leicester,  and  all  the  brave  crew  of 
them  who  did  such  dastardly  hideous  deeds  with  such 
elegant  determined  grace.  Here  I  forgave  freely  the 
absence  of  desire  to  re-establish  anything,  smiling  in- 
dulgently even  upon  the  empty  paper  bags  in  gay  flight 
round  the  ruins  and  exuding  the  full  flavour  of  the 
week's  picnics. 

We  paid  a  short  visit  to  Warwick  to  note  the  archi- 
tectural charm  of  the  old  alms-houses  and  the  fine 


detachment  of  the  castle  where  the  peacocks  were 
braying  with  proud  discordance.  A  little  stationer's 
shop  yielded  a  quaint  picture  of  this  worked  in  fine 
black  silk,  and  achieving  remarkably  the  effect  of 
etching  in  its  slender  threads  against  a  faintly  dis- 
coloured sky.  This  was  dated  1780,  when  the  trees 
were  in  their  first  youth  and  a  triple-arched  bridge  was 
in  full  sight  with  the  round  battlemented  towers  where 
the  narrow  slits  and  square  windows  were  revealed 
clearly  without  shelter  of  green. 

But  for  the  more  prolonged  holiday,  Irving  preferred 
a  coast,  and  if  no  time  availed  to  get  to  his  most  dearly 
beloved  Cornwall  he  would  accept  a  compromise  of 
the  North  of  Devon,  or  of  the  East  up  Norfolk  way  ; 
and  once  in  search  of  the  bracing  virtue  we  pitched 
our  tents  at  Felixstowe. 

The  departure  from  Liverpool  Street  Station  was 
impressive  to  the  nth  degree  with  Irving,  preceded 
up  the  platform  by  a  station-master,  bareheaded,  and 
two  porters  to  lead  the  convoy,  which  included  me, 
my  daughter,  her  companion,  a  maid,  and  Walter  the 

"  Might  be  a  touring  company, "  mused  Irving  as 
he  stood  for  a  moment  in  survey  of  the  trunks  and  the 
packages  overlooked  by  his  younger  secretary  and  the 
baggage-man  from  the  theatre. 

Irving  as  a  family  man  was  an  incongruity  :  solitude 
suited  him,  and  not  one  of  those  silly  tales  of  his  sad 
loneliness  after  the  death  of  his  dog,  or  his  deep-seated 
sorrow  at  the  loss  of  his  scenery  by  fire,  or  the  desolate 
melancholy  which  followed  his  serious  illness  was  ever 
justified  by  fact.  He  was  always  the  courageous 
philosopher,  a  careless,  trusting  Bohemian  shirking  the 


financial  review.  He  was  nevertheless  shrewd  enough 
to  necessity,  and  astute  to  value  men  and  matters  ; 
under  no  circumstances  was  he  a  fool  or  a  weakling. 
He  lived  by  himself  because  he  liked  to  do  so,  and  alone 
he  fought  for  himself  and  his  calling  ;  he  never  was 
an  object  for  pity  or  for  commiseration,  he  had  every- 
thing material  he  needed,  and  he  failed  only  for  a  short 
time  in  the  potential  possession  of  the  benefits  he  would 
so  happily  dispense  at  all  times  and  seasons. 

:<  I  am  not  here  to  collect  money/'  he  would  say, 
should  I  dare  to  urge  investigation  of  some  claim  to 
his  charity,  and  it  may  be  reckoned  as  truth  that  when 
he  recaptured  his  fortune  no  week  elapsed  without 
fifty  pounds  being  distributed  amongst  the  needy. 

It  always  seemed  to  me  that  Irving  did  nothing 
whatever  to  secure  extra-special  notice  or  attention, 
and  yet  his  personality  compelled  both  to  a  somewhat 
overwhelming  point.  Wherever  we  wandered,  even 
to  the  smallest  village  where  the  fruit-pickers  or  the 
stone-breakers  would  cheer  him,  it  was  the  same  story 
of  recognition  and  acclamation,  and  he  would  modestly 
explain  this  with,  "  Well,  there  are  a  great  many 
illustrated  papers,  and  other  people  cut  their  hair." 

At  first  I  found  such  public  acknowledgment  rather 
embarrassing,  royalty  could  not  have  been  more  re- 
spectfully escorted  or  more  gladly  greeted,  and  as 
I  had  not  been  in  the  habit  of  receiving  bouquets  with 
a  curtsey,  I  shuffled  rather  shyly  at  their  presentation 
with  a  little  speech  included. 

Irving  exhibited  a  splendid  composure  under  the 
greatest  provocation.  He  took  exactly  the  right  atti- 
tude, whether  planting  a  tree  for  an  hotel-keeper  or 
accepting  an  old  magazine  at  the  hands  of  a  waiter,  or 


a  bunch  of  field  flowers  from  a  baby  ;  I  have  even  seen 
him  endure  unmoved  a  couple  of  Italian  ladies  who 
flung  themselves  at  his  feet  and  kissed  his  hand  whilst 
crying,  "  Maestro,  Maestro. "  His  equanimity  was  by 
no  means  upset.  He  never  lacked  dignity  allied  to 
charm  and  sympathy. 

The  air  of  Felixstowe  being  duly  commended  and  the 
shipping  to  Harwich  investigated  through  the  willing 
mouths  of  a  dozen  officials,  the  place  was  found  to  be 
possessed  of  only  one  good  drive,  which  involved  a 
carriage  being  ferried  across  a  broad  river,  where  the 
flat  surrounding  country  declared  itself  a  close  relation 
to  Holland. 

After  having  sampled  this  two  or  three  times  Felix- 
stowe was  deserted  in  favour  of  Lowestoft,  and  this 
again  abandoned  for  Buxton,  with  trains  and  horses 
to  readiness  as  might  please. 

Buxton  was  bracing  enough  to  satisfy  the  sovereign 
mover  of  our  driving  destinies,  but  it  yielded  for  him 
the  wrong  sort  of  recreation  ;  he  liked  to  sit  in  con- 
templation of  mountains  or  strange  birds  or  rocks  and 
blue  and  green  tempestuous  seas. 

His  day's  routine  would  be  letters  till  twelve,  walk 
till  luncheon  prolonged  to  a  rest,  and  four  hours' 
driving  before  dinner-time,  such  drives  to  be  amidst 
rough  scenery  for  choice.  The  hills  and  the  streams 
of  Derbyshire  supplied  very  well  the  need  of  variety, 
but  during  that  year  Irving  was  especially  restless,  and 
the  set  civilisation  of  Buxton  with  hydropathic  com- 
plexion did  not  suit  his  mood. 

During  our  sojourn  here  as  elsewhere  the  travelling 
entertainers  came,  and  although  Irving  never  went 
down  to  hear  their  programme,  he  would  always  en- 


courage  them  by  "  a  little  cheque  "  and  a  kindly  letter 
of  greeting. 

One  night  an  offence  brought  some  blame  as  well  as 
the  little  cheque,  for  a  fortune-teller  plying  his  pro- 
fession in  the  crowded  hall  had  predicted  evil  to  a 
young  girl. 

"  Soon  a  wife  and  soon  a  widow  "  had  been  pro- 
phesied, and  Irving  took  special  opportunity  to 
reprimand  gently  with  "  All  wrong,  all  wrong,  my 
boy,  don't  do  it  again." 

It  is  quite  indisputable  that  Irving  considered  him- 
self the  father  of  his  people,  and  his  people  included 
every  artist  in  public  amusement ;  and  all  alike  on  the 
road  would  get  from  him  some  special  welcome,  a 
caravan  of  gipsies  being  hailed  with  tremendous 

it  was  at  Buxton  we  went  to  hear  Benson's  Company 

play  in  Macbeth,  and  Irving  acceded  to  a  request  to 
come  behind  the  scenes  and  visit  the  famous  actor- 

"  What  did  you  say  to  Benson  ?  "  I  asked  inquisi- 
tively when  he  returned  to  the  box,  for  the  plaudits  of 
one  artist  of  another  must  necessarily  be  difficult  to 
express  with  an  absolute  sincerity,  unless  the  talented 
should  be  recognising  the  man  of  genius. 

"  What  did  Benson  say  ?  "  I  demanded. 

1  Very  good,  very  good,  we  talked  about  cricket  and 
the  difficulties  of  transporting  heavy  productions. " 

Sydney  Holland,  now  Lord  Knutsford,  was  in  resi- 
dence at  the  hotel ;  Sir  Alfred  Cooper,  suffering  from 
his  first  attack  of  arthritis,  arrived  there  for  the  benefit 
of  the  waters,  and  Lord  Farquhar  came  in  possession 
of  a  fine  motor-car  and  endeavoured  to  persuade 


Irving  to  give  up  his  drives  and  take  to  the  swifter 

"  No,  no,"  he  demurred,  "  never." 

He  liked  the  sound  of  the  horses'  hoofs  and  the 
chance  of  leisurely  enjoyment  of  the  scenery.  By  the 
uninitiated  man  then  a  motor  was  regarded  as  an 
obstructionist,  indicted  as  a  hog,  and  found  guilty  of 
obscuring  the  vivid  green  of  the  trees,  and  making  the 
milestones  seem  as  a  vast  graveyard. 

There  was  much  satisfaction  to  be  gained  from  the 
views  in  the  country  surrounding  Buxton,  although 
stone  walls  are  poor  substitutes  for  green  hedges  in  a 
landscape,  and  some  argument  may  ensue  from  a  sign- 
post which  displays  a  female  without  a  head  to  explain 
her  title— "  The  Silent  Woman."' 

Dovedale  was  approved  amongst  resting-places,  but 
Irving  could  not  be  persuaded  to  mount  a  donkey  and 
go  down  to  the  valley,  the  earnest  photographer  for- 
bade. We  dawdled  at  Castleton,  where  the  tale  of  the 
ringing  curfew  bell  lent  charm  with  a  ropewalk,  and 
some  pitch-dark  caves  centred  by  a  pool  of  gloom  to 
contrast  with  the  brilliant  sunshine  of  our  emerging. 

Haddon  Hall  did  not  escape  attention,  and  the 
hanging  tapestries  gave  to  me  evidence  of  remarkable 
skill  in  their  mending,  whilst  no  conjuror  was  needed 
to  call  to  vision  a  plumed  Dorothy  Vernon  departing 
through  the  wide  door,  where,  by  the  way,  Irving  stood 
to  utter  with  grim  humour  : 

"  Hooked,"  in  comment  on  an  eager  mother  arming 
her  daughter's  dangler  round  the  garden. 

After  we  left  Buxton  "  the  cavalcade,"  as  Irving  used 
to  call  it,  departed  for  Wales  ;  the  environment  of  the 
grey-blue  hills,  where  long-maned  ponies  ran  up  and 


down,  and  queer-shaped  cattle  gazed  amidst  trickling 
streams,  suited  well  his  grey-clad  figure,  his  deliberate 
movements,  the  gentle  grace  which  was  ever  his. 

No  one  could  so  stamp  with  elegance  the  merest 
commonplace  of  taking  a  cigar  from  a  case,  clipping  it 
to  a  bitter  end,  and  piercing  it  slowly  before  exhaling 
a  first  puff  with  a  bland  smile  of  ineffable  content. 

Whether  due  to  the  long-tailed  black-faced  sheep, 
or  to  the  ponies,  or  to  the  primitive  beauty  of  Conway 
Castle,  or  the  David  Cox  signpost  at  an  inn  in  Bettws- 
y-coed,  Wales  was  a  complete  success.  But  Irving 
cavilled  at  being  cheered  up  and  down  Snowdon,  even 
with  the  comic  relief  present  of  an  enthusiastic  lady 
whose  muslin  roses  had  under  the  influence  of  the 
mountain  mist  dissolved  to  splash  her  nose  and  chin 
with  splendid  purple  patches. 

All  the  people  in  the  laden  coaches  insisted  upon 
yielding  Irving  tribute,  an  incident  to  evoke  some 
surprise  and  sport  taking  place  at  Llanrwst  when, 
passing  a  crowd  assembled  round  the  Law  Court,  we 
came  upon  a  Cheap  Jack  screaming  of  his  wares  in 
voluble  Welsh. 

No  sooner  had  the  clatter  of  our  horses  on  the 
stones  interrupted  his  harangue  than  he  waved  his 
hands,  dashed  down  the  steps  shouting,  "  Gawd 
blimey,  it's  Henry  Irving  "  with  the  best  quality  of 
Cockney  accent  that  ever  grew  to  perfection  in  the 
Whitechapel  Road. 

Here  again  I  was  inspired  to  admiration  at  the  right 
reception  of  the  greeting,  for  of  course  the  carriage 
was  stopped,  the  crowd  gathered  round  it,  and  the  hand 
of  the  descended  orator  was  grasped  with  : 

"  How   are   you,   my   boy ;    so   you   come   from 


London  ?  "  and  much  enquiry  took  place  as  to  the 
financial  success  of  the  present  hawking  enterprise  and 
just  a  little  added  to  speed  this  on  the  way,  and  all  done 
with  such  simplicity  and  acute  perception  of  what 
might  be  acceptable. 

Irving  loved  the  people,  that  was  why  he  was  able 
to  understand  them,  for  although  he  attended  punc- 
tually at  Royal  garden  parties,  gratefully  received 
Royal  enquiries  and  mandates  to  Royal  performances, 
in  his  heart  he  had  little  ambition  to  be  hail-fellow- 
well-met  with  sovereigns  and  nobles.  But  he  never 
failed  to  show  his  pleasure  for  the  privileges  he  took, 
regarding  these  obstinately  as  being  as  much  in  acknow- 
ledgment of  his  profession  as  in  personal  honour. 

Just  before  the  time  when  King  Edward's  coronation 
was  due  we  drove  together  through  St.  James'  Street, 
gay  with  pillars  encircled  with  laurels  and  flowers 
crowned  with  flaming  lights.  I  can  see  him  so  well 
viewing  the  excellent  effect  with  satisfied  grunts  whilst 
rising  from  his  seat  and  calling  to  the  coachman  : 

"  Go  down  to  the  East  End,  let  us  see  what  they  are 
doing  there." 

Nothing  delighted  him  more  than  to  be  in  the  thick 
of  the  masses,  such  taste  leading  him  even  to  a  Bank 
Holiday  on  Yarmouth  sands,  and  an  infallible  rule  of 
attending  any  country  fair  within  his  reach. 

That  the  populace  loved  him  no  less  there  was  ample 
proof,  none  to  me  more  touching  than  was  evinced  by 
an  old  half -blind  upholsteress  who  had  been  re-covering 
some  of  his  cushions  and  had  come  to  me  in  all 
humility  to  ask  if  she  might  keep  one  of  the  old  cases 
upon  which,  as  she  expressed  it,  "  his  noble  head  had 


In  the  later  years  when  Lena  Ashwell  inaugurated 
the  Three  Arts  Club  and  gave  me  the  chance  I  gladly 
took  to  furnish  the  Henry  Irving  room  there,  I  offered 
the  sewing  of  the  curtains  to  that  same  old  woman 
whose  total  income  then  I  learnt  to  be  seven  shillings  a 
week.  She  begged  me  with  tears  in  her  eyes  not  to 
make  her  take  payment  for  anything  which  was  dedi- 
cated "  to  the  memory  of  that  dear  Henry  Irving." 



THE  morning  papers  announced,  "  Collapse  of 
Sir  Henry  Irving  whilst  playing  at  Wolver* 
hampton,"  and  we  waited  anxiously  all 
through  the  dreary  day  for  further  detailed  news  and 
the  permission  to  go  up  and  see  him. 

The  greeting  was  typical  from  the  gaunt  Jaeger-clad 
figure  sitting  up  with  a  glass  of  champagne  in  his 

"  We  are  just  drinking  your  health/'  and  not  a  word 
to  follow  about  his  own,  which  was  obviously  of  more 
importance.  I  found  a  curious  scene  at  the  hotel, 
unlike  any  I  had  ever  witnessed,  as  if  some  great  king 
were  laid  by  and  his  ministers  of  state  in  watchful 
attendance.  There  were  Irving  in  bed  and  a  hospital 
nurse  hovering  round  him  but  not  allowed  to  assist 
him  actively,  for  while  Irving  respected  nurses  deeply, 
and  did  not  refuse  to  engage  them  if  forced  to  do  so, 
he  made  rare  use  of  them,  always  manoeuvring  to  be 
rid  of  them,  and  turning  for  all  his  creature  comforts 
to  the  faithful  ever-present  Walter. 

Whispering  messengers  moved  in  and  out  of  an 
ante-chamber  filled  with  flowers,  while  a  couple  of 
Royal  messages  and  a  foot  high  of  telegrams  fluttered 
on  the  dressing-table,  and  Bram  Stoker,  with  H.  J. 
Loveday,  Irving 's  most  assiduous  lieutenants,  were 



endeavouring  to  reply  to  these,  Irving  continually 
editing  their  efforts  with  "  Very  good,  but  I  should  not 
say  that." 

I  was  delighted  of  course  to  learn  from  the  waiter 
that  three  other  ladies  had  come  from  different  parts 
of  England  to  request  that  they  might  look  after 
Sir  Henry,  who  had  answered  politely  with  gratitude 
and  a  hope  to  see  them  "  some  other  time." 

After  much  diplomacy  and  dodging,  the  doctor  and 
I  met  on  the  evening  of  my  appearance  which  he  at 
first  resented  then  amiably  forgave,  even  urging  me 
to  remain  longer  because  "  I  understand  when  you 
leave  others  will  come,  and  he  must  be  kept  quiet." 

However,  all  went  slowly  well,  and  Irving  and  I  met 
later  at  Torquay,  advised  for  its  mild  atmosphere,  but 
with  all  its  smug  countenance  we  found  every  corner 
beset  by  a  different  quality  of  cold  wind,  and  knew 
there  were  other  places  in  the  South  of  England 
possessed  of  a  far  balmier  beneficence. 

Devonshire  and  Cornwall  we  had  visited  previously 
at  different  times,  beginning  one  trip  at  Lynton  to 
finish  it  at  Penzance  and  Land's  End,  another  at 
Falmouth,  proceeding  to  Padstow,  and  diverging  to 
Bude  and  every  other  interesting  place  possible  on  the 
way,  permitting  horses  and  trains  with  preceding 
servants  to  evoke  the  indispensable  comfort  of  our 

Scenery  to  be  served  with  luxury  was  now  the 
obeyed  mandate,  and  the  super- tripper  not  specially 
required  on  the  programme. 

But  we  encountered  an  overcrowded  Ilfracombe, 
where  walking  was  altogether  prohibitive  to  Irving,  for 
he  was  followed  around  as  if  he  had  been  a  circus,  and 


comment  with  close  scrutiny  pursued  him  outside  all 
limit  of  pleasant  leisure. 

"  You  must  let  us  look  at  him  too,"  shouted  a  woman 
at  me  after  she  had  noted  my  scowl  when  she  hustled 
him  against  the  window  of  a  shop. 

There  were  better  chances  of  quiet  down  at  Tintagel, 
where  we  stayed  once  or  twice,  and  he  enjoyed  a  huge 
sitting-room  with  a  fine  view  of  rugged  rocks  against 
which  the  multi-coloured  white-frilled  waves  crept  and 
dashed  their  black  impression. 

Upon  his  balcony  the  large  telescope  of  his  constant 
companionship  was  set  to  obtain  glimpses  at  the  passing 
ships,  not  conspicuously  many,  and  always  con- 
spicuously distant. 

However,  it  revealed  one  morning  beside  the  green- 
roofed  cave,  dedicated  to  the  memory  of  Merlin,  nurse 
of  Arthur,  the  tall  figure  of  a  bather  waving  a  panama 
hat  in  joyous  recognition  of  "  The  Chief."  This  was 
Margaret  Halstan,  with  many  Shakespearean  heroines 
to  her  histrionic  name,  an  ardent  worshipper  and  a 
beautiful  girl.  What  could  be  better  ?  I  thought  as  I 
watched  her  all  joy  and  excitement  when  she  came  up 
the  steps  to  know  that  she  was  under  the  same  roof  as 

Grimly  battlemented  in  careful  imitation  of  bygone 
days  if  not  actually  persuasive  of  tradition,  King 
Arthur's  Castle  Hotel  answered  to  the  suggestion,  but 
stands  so  severely  alone  that  the  catering  and  service 
problems  must  have  been  difficult  to  solve,  with 
Launceston  as  the  most  convenient  town  for  pro- 
viding appetising  food  and  the  essential  rubber-tyred 

But  there  are  worse  hardships  than  lobsters  fresh 


from  the  sea,  hot  from  the  pot,  and  served  with  Cornish 
cream.  If  vegetables  lacked,  the  butcher  did  his  best ; 
the  poultry  none  too  plump  was  of  native  birth,  and  the 
itinerant  fishmonger  was  at  least  faithful  in  reserving 
a  sufficiency  for  our  eating,  although  after  perambu- 
lating the  long  street  with  a  barrow  which  was  spread 
on  one  side  with  fish,  and  on  the  other  with  fruit,  he 
would  find  his  stock  diminished  to  utter  disappearance, 
and  became  so  confused  by  his  clamouring  customers 
that  he  might  be  heard  calling,  "  Fish  all  ripe,  ripe 

Irving  drove  every  afternoon  wherever  he  might 
find  himself  during  holiday  times,  and  since  the  long 
distance  was  his  desire,  a  pair  of  horses  had  to  be  pro- 
cured, some  humour  being  extracted  from  the  supply, 
should  these  have  been  unaccustomed  to  each  other's 
company  ;  while,  added  to  their  detached  inclinations, 
might  perhaps  be  a  coachman  who  doubled  this  duty 
with  that  of  postmaster,  or  Wesleyan  preacher,  or  local 
magistrate.  The  ostlers  at  the  livery  stables  were 
again  in  the  emergency  class,  but  everywhere  was 
evident  the  wish  to  serve,  the  comic  situation  prevailing 
often,  and  in  a  very  primitive  part  of  South  Cornwall, 
where  the  manager  of  the  inn  had  carefully  coached  the 
servants  in  their  address  of  "  Sir  Henry/'  while  giving 
no  instruction  for  my  appellation,  I  became  entitled 
as  "  My  Grace." 

Once  upon  a  time  there  was  a  luncheon,  and  the 
presiding  monarch  had  asked  : 

"  What  is  to  be  your  next  play,  Irving  ?  J> 

"  King  Arthur,  sir." 

"  Ha  !  ha  !  "  was  the  gruff  guffaw  ;  "  don't  forget 
to  put  in  the  incident  of  the  cakes." 


Not  a  person  at  that  table  except  J.  Comyns  Carr 
saw  cause,  or  dared,  to  smile  at  the  inept  caution. 

Irving  was  punctiliously  visited  by  any  dignitary  of 
the  Church  who  was  in  his  neighbourhood,  Deans  being 
unanimous  in  their  prompt  calling  upon  him.  Whether 
to  upbraid  him  for  his  profession  or  to  honour  him  for 
the  way  he  followed  it,  was  not  quite  clear,  but  in  any 
event  the  result  was  the  same,  a  subscription  to  some 
local  and  most  deserving  cause. 

But  at  Tintagel  this  popular  incident  was  omitted, 
although  Bishop  Ryle,  now  the  Dean  of  Westminster, 
was  staying  at  the  same  hotel. 

On  the  date  when  the  summons  came  to  attend  the 
postponed  coronation  of  King  Edward  VII  we  drove 
Irving  over  to  Camelford  Station,  and  as  I  contem- 
plated those  two  separately  parading  the  platform 
beneath  the  light  of  the  morning  sun  which  twinkled 
at  the  golden  cross  dangling  upon  the  capacious  black 
silk  waistcoat,  I  realised  again,  as  I  had  at  Canterbury, 
how  fittingly  might  the  actor  have  worn  the  gaiters, 
how  well  might  the  personality  of  the  prelate  suit  the 
motley.  Beacons  of  light,  both  of  them,  I  thought  that 
night  as  I  was  watching  the  fires  flaming  to  the  glory 
of  the  King  upon  the  seven  surrounding  hills  which 
overtopped  the  purple  waters. 

I  am  not  quite  sure  what  is  the  exact  charm  in 
Tintagel,  but  it  persists,  whether  in  the  little  village 
street  where  stands  the  old  post  office  untouched  by 
the  renovator,  but  no  longer  allowed  an  official  exist- 
ence, or  when  climbing  the  hill  to  the  old  church  near 
the  golf  links  persistently  invaded  by  munching  sheep, 
or  wandering  down  the  narrow  road  where  little 
children,  all  called  "  Awthur  "  or  "  Gwinnivear,"  rest 


so  comfortably  upon  upright  slates  that  their  physical 
construction  gives  cause  for  conjecture. 

Primitive  peace  reigns  so  happily  there  and  in  the 
valleys  beyond  where,  stepping  warily  on  flat  stones 
between  high-growing  ferns  and  multicoloured  wild 
flowers  entangled  with  honeysuckle,  you  may  come 
upon  the  open  sea.  There  are  no  spots  I  know  in 
England  like  to  these,  and  there  is  much  to  capture  the 
imagination  on  journeys  to  reach  Port  Isaac  voted 
rather  dull,  or  the  slate  quarries  at  Delabole,  where  we 
were  presented  with  a  slate  which  had  imprisoned  a 
butterfly  so  tightly  and  securely  that  its  complete  shape 
was  impressed  to  reflect  transparently  the  faint  colours 
of  its  frail  existence. 

Habitations  are  few  and  farming  not  too  laboriously 
practised.  A  cottager  or  so  might  be  persuaded  to 
supply  a  lustre  mug  or  jug,  but  rarely  would  she  fill  it 
with  milk  or  tea. 

At  St.  Knighton's  Kieve  sits  the  custodian  of  the 
keys,  all  framed  in  old  oak  as  the  proprieties  demand, 
but  far  more  anxious  to  obtain  our  copy  of  the  Daily 
Graphic  than  to  impart  the  traditional  lore,  legitimate 
to  his  office. 

Walking  into  Boscastle,  a  fascinating,  quaint  spot 
centred  with  a  turreted  inn,  and  possessed  of  a  quay, 
a  natural  rock-bound  harbour,  and  an  idle  water-mill 
to  face  the  situation,  we  followed  the  path  up  the  woods 
to  the  old  Minster,  to  be  told  the  story  of  a  famous 
young  giant  called  Abraham  because  he  was  born  to 
his  mother  when  she  was  half  a  century  old. 

Irving  stood  in  happy  reverie  on  a  narrow  cliff  which 
overlooked  the  caves  inhabited  by  seals. 

"  We  will  go  out  and  visit  them  one  day,"  he  was 


saying,  whilst  I  was  thinking  I  should  like  to  improve 
a  seal  or  two  off  the  face  of  the  waters  on  to  my  back, 
when  an  incoherent  female  interrupted  the  dream,  and 
pushing  his  elbow,  gasped  : 

;<  Sir,  sir,  may  I  have  the  honour  of  shaking  hands 
with  Hamlet  ?  " 

We  did  have  some  gorgeous  days  down  there  in 
Cornwall,  days  of  never-failing  delight,  mornings  over 
the  rocks  in  happy  emotion  at  caverns  invaded,  by 
waters  now  blue,  now  green,  now  violet ;  evenings  in 
watching  the  magnificent  orange  and  purple  sunsets, 
which  stretched  their  splendour  all  around,  making 
pictures  black,  grey,  green,  violet  or  yellow  or  pale 
blue  in  the  depths  of  a  sapphire  sky. 

It  was  certain  that  Irving  never  got  entirely  away 
from  the  theatre,  for  he  would  tread  a  measure  swiftly 
from  the  balcony  to  the  table,  and  gazing  through  the 
window,  would  take  up  pencil  or  pen  and  ink  and  sketch 
rapidly  and  very  badly  the  outlines  of  the  division  of 
colour,  emphasising  some  shadows  in  gloom  of  varied 
grey  with  : 

"  Might  do  very  well  in  Dante ." 

Irving  had  ever  a  keen  eye  for  hoardings  which 
displayed  theatrical  posters,  the  more  lurid  the  de- 
picted scene  the  better  to  his  taste.  A  burglar  with  a 
lighted  lamp  upon  a  prone  figure,  a  shipwreck  in  a  sheet 
of  lightning,  a  gentleman  in  full  evening  dress  knifing 
a  lady  on  a  scarlet  background  would  delight  him  as 
evidence  of  the  vitality  of  the  theatre,  and  he  was  the 
more  pleased  the  more  remote  was  the  suburb  where 
he  saw  these.  He  knew  that  virtue  would  have  its 
just  reward  in  the  last  act,  and  he  was  convinced  that 
playgoing  was  good  for  the  people,  glad  to  know  that 


some  dramatic  company  was  coming  or  had  gone  from 
the  out-of-the-way  place. 

To  bear  the  theatrical  torch  through  the  world  as 
John  Wesley  carried  the  humble  lesson  of  divinity  was 
his  mission,  and  allowing  for  his  subject,  his  time  and 
his  circumstance,  his  welcome  was  scarcely  less  en- 
thusiastic than  that  accorded  to  the  great  preacher  of 
the  eighteenth  century. 

Irving  was  always  exacting  in  punctuality,  as  was 
John  Wesley.  He  insisted  upon  service  at  the  precise 
moment  fixed,  in  the  same  spirit  as  Wesley  when  kept 
waiting  for  his  chaise.  "  I  have  lost  ten  minutes  for 


I  would  wonder  at  times  whether  Irving  regretted 
his  solitude,  for  we  made  a  family  life  around  him 
altogether,  and  he  had  not  been  accustomed  to  con- 
stant companionship  except  during  his  working  times, 
and  here  again  detachment  was  necessarily  the  authori- 
tative ruling. 

I  would  say  to  him  half  apologetically  when  the 
young  people  intruded  into  his  room  to  devour 
his  peaches  and  feed  him  on  gossip  from  below 
stairs  : 

"  Terrible  business  this  for  you,  and  I  do  not  see 
how  you  are  going  to  escape  us  now  during  the 


"  No,  I  suppose  not,"  he  answered,  and  mused 
whilst  looking  across  at  the  Atlantic  : 

"  There  is  always  America  you  know,  and  I  am  very 
fond  of  America,  and  you  would  never  cross  the  ocean," 
so  we  smiled  at  each  other  with  that  comprehension 
which  I  am  encouraged  to  think  gave  him  as  much 
pleasure  as  it  gave  pride  to  me. 


During  one  of  our  visits  in  the  South  I  suggested  I 
might  be  introduced  to  the  place  of  his  birth,  Keinton, 
which  seemed  to  concern  him  less  than  the  village 
where  he  was  brought  up  by  a  stern  and  adorable 
aunt,  and  a  bluff  giant  of  a  mining  uncle,  with  a  few 
cousins  scarcely  less  satisfactory. 

We  met  one  of  those  cousins  together  down  in 
Penzance,  and  she  bore  some  resemblance  to  Irving  in 
the  granite  greyness  of  her  outlines.  Her  name  was 
Kate,  and  I  resented  it  as  unseemly  that  she  should 
call  Irving  "  Johnnie/'  but  her  fault  had  to  be  con- 
doned, for  this  had  been  her  custom  in  his  childhood. 

We  deposited  the  dear  lady  after  a  luncheon  and  a 
drive  at  her  own  house  overlooking  the  bay,  and  she 
turned  to  me  after  kissing  him  good-bye,  and  promising 
to  nurse  him  should  he  ever  be  ill,  with  a  request  that  I 
would  never  leave  him.  I  must  go,  she  said,  to  the 
United  States  with  him,  and  I  must  become  an  actress 
if  needs  be  to  guard  him  more  carefully.  This  exhor- 
tation excited  Irving 's  intense  amusement,  for  he  knew 
I  had  as  much  terror  of  walking  a  liner  as  I  should 
have  had  of  stepping  upon  the  stage. 

At  any  rate  it  was  comforting  to  think  that  "  Cousin 
Kate  "  hailed  me  so  thoroughly  worthy  and  capable 
with  a  willingness  not  to  be  gainsaid. 

All  roads  might  lead  with  Irving  to  the  theatre,  and 
whilst  he  was  poking  fun  at  me  when  I  proposed  .that 
to  please  Cousin  Kate  I  might  study  the  part  of  Martha 
in  Fattst,  we  argued  on  the  dubious  advantage  of  inti- 
mate relations.  Neither  of  us  thought  they  should  be 
quite  ignored,  and  I  objected,  laughing,  to  their 
wholesale  murder,  which  might  tend  to  keep  their 
mourners  from  the  playhouse. 


"  The  Court  must  wear  full  mourning  for  a  week" 
he  quoted  from  Louis  the  Eleventh  ;  but  more  seriously 
he  remonstrated,  "  Those  in  grief  should  go  to  the 
theatre.  That  is  what  a  theatre  is  for,  to  distract  you 
and  take  you  out  of  yourself. " 

Somehow  that  doctrine  has  made  good  for  me  since, 
and  in  every  trouble  time,  and  I  have  had  many,  I  take 
solace  at  the  theatre.  Some  evenings  I  ponder  there 
on  the  prevalence  of  humbug,  the  hollow  mockery  of 
condolence,  the  soothing  speech  of  those  inquisitive 
aliens  who  are  always  so  certain  the  departed  is  well 
and  comfortably  bestowed.  Outside  acquaintances 
are  full  of  hackneyed  phrases  signifying  nothing  except 
their  desire  to  get  on  with  their  duty  to  you,  to  acquit 
themselves  creditably  by  so  many  inches  of  superficial 
sympathy  measured  out  to  the  case  of  the  financially 
endowed  or  bereft.  Friends  understand  and  sit  in 
silence,  or  keep  away. 

There  was  once  a  gay  sinner  with  an  acquisitive  hand 
and  a  gushing  manner  calling  to  condole  with  a  loving 
niece-heiress  upon  the  death  of  her  wealthy  aunt. 

"  Sybil,  I  am  so  sorry,  dear  ;  and  you  were  such  an 
angel  to  her,  but  she  is  better  off  where  she  is  I  am 
sure."  Then  proceeded  a  tale  of  the  speaker's  financial 
embarrassment  and  the  request  for  an  immediate  loan 
of  ten  pounds,  which  being  tendered  was  eagerly 
folded  and  pocketed  with  the  amazing  farewell : 

"  Good-bye,  darling,  how  truly  sweet  you  have 
been,  and  I  am  so  distressed  for  you,  and  I  do  hope 
your  dear  aunt  will  soon  be  better." 

St.  Ives  was  amongst  my  objectives,  because  being 
for  the  moment  denied  Keinton,  I  insisted  upon  an 
introduction  to  Helston,  the  scene  of  Irving 's  early 


upbringing,  and  we  drove  over  there  to  trace  the  house 
where  he  had  lived,  ultimately  finding  it  all  unhallowed 
and  unmarked  with  no  more  distinction  to  it  than  the 
fine  groceries  it  contained  and  the  royal  insignia  to 
announce  its  privileges  to  perform  the  duties  of  a  post 

Happily  the  attendant  clerk  had  not  been  trained  in 
the  Metropolis,  and  although  she  exhibited  almost  as 
much  ignorance  as  if  she  had  enjoyed  that  advantage, 
this  was  entirely  detached  from  insolence. 

It  remains  yet  for  perennial  meditation  the  postal 
clerk's  attitude  towards  a  customer  or  an  enquirer. 
Any  intruder  within  her  glass  doors,  or  over  her 
wooden  counter,  acts  as  an  irritant,  as  violent  as  the 
red  rag  to  a  bull  or  any  critic  to  any  artist. 

However,  our  little  friend  at  the  grocer's  was  inno- 
cent of  discourteous  sin,  but  gurgled  hysterically 
when  she  recognised  her  guest,  all  unknowing  that 
he  had  ever  dwelt  within  the  walls  of  her  occupa- 

Irving  strode  along  to  investigation,  ruminating  over 
the  disused  tin  mines  which  dotted  the  hillside,  and 
stopping  to  inspect  a  shabby  tin  tabernacle  where  at 
the  age  of  eight  he  had  collected  a  small  audience  to 
hear  him  consign  to  eternal  flames  an  ancient  grand- 
mother who  had  threatened  him  with  awful  penalty  for 
some  Sabbatarian  breach. 

Back  to  Tintagel  we  went  gleefully,  but  not  too 
swiftly,  stopping  somehow  or  other  at  Bude  and  the 
little  quiet  station  where  the  scuttling  of  the  rabbits 
would  announce  an  approaching  train.  We  had 
luncheon  at  "  The  Falcon, "  to  wander  down  by  the 
little  waterway  which  leads  to  the  open,  and  here 


Irving  was  greeted  by  some  peripatetic  relative  of 
Matthew  Arnold's  with  fishing-rod  in  hand  to  suggest 
her  optimistic  outlook. 

All  were  definitely  glad  to  receive  us  back  at  King 
Arthur's  Castle  Hotel.  "  No  spot  like  it,"  Irving  was 
again  convinced  as  he  stood  upon  his  balcony  the  next 
morning  watching  the  clustering  and  the  flight  of  the 
seagulls,  listening  to  the  squeaks  of  the  peewits,  whose 
fretful  calls  persisted  with  one  dominant  "  peever  "  he 
christened  "  Gwinnie,"  after  a  baby  in  the  hotel,  who 
was  for  ever  whining  to  an  over-fond  mother. 

Every  evening  I  looked  in  vain  for  the  predatory 
hawk  in  a  moment  of  absolute  immobility  to  swoop  with 
disaster  upon  some  unconscious  farmyard  offender. 
He  kept  no  appointment  I  made  with  him,  and  I  was 
for  ever  wanting  to  meet  the  lark,  and  he  failed  no 
less,  but  I  did  enjoy  the  experience  of  trying  to  coax 
a  nonchalant  magpie  while  regretting  my  ignorance 
of  its  lucky  or  unlucky  significance,  when  all  black,  or 
black  and  white,  if  approached  from  the  rear  or  the 

Even  the  happiest  holidays  come  inevitably  to  their 
conclusion,  but  I  know  it  was  Irving's  intention,  after 
he  had  completed  the  two  years'  farewell  tour,  to  go 
back  again  to  Tintagel,  engage  those  rooms  where  he 
had  spent  so  many  contented  weeks,  and  write  his 
memoirs  which  an  enterprising  American  had  failed 
to  encourage  earlier,  even  with  an  offer  of  a  pre- 
liminary fee  of  five  thousand  pounds. 

But  that  was  not  to  be,  and  the  last  holiday  we  ever 
spent  together  began  at  Whitby,  passing  at  York  Station 
an  old  and  very  ill  Lord  Glenesk,  standing  bareheaded 
under  the  impression  that  he,  according  to  his  wont, 


was  receiving  Queen  Victoria  on  her  way  up  to  Bal- 

We  ended  our  journey  at  Scarborough,  taking  Peter- 
borough Cathedral  on  the  homeward  way,  and  finding 
there  the  father  of  Stephen  Phillip?,  who  was  the  Pre- 
centor, a  fine  old  fellow,  most  anxious  to  hear  Irving's 
opinion  of  his  poet  son,  whose  great  ability  was 
shadowed  by  great  weakness. 

Oh  !  Yorkshire  was  excruciatingly  cold  that  year, 
not  even  the  broadest  sweeps  of  purple  heather  could 
console  for  the  devastating  winds  which  swept  across 
the  dreary  spaciousness,  and  I  would  get  back  from  our 
excursions  grey  and  blue  and  green  of  face,  with 
fingers  so  frozen  that  boiling  water  scarcely  warmed 
to  their  touch. 

"  Cold  in  the  earth  and  sixteen  wild  Decembers 
From  these  brown  moors  have  melted  into  Spring, 
Faithful  indeed  is  the  spirit  that  remembers 
After  such  years  of  pain  and  suffering." 

"  You  like  your  country  frappd,"  I  would  object, 
and  Irving  expressed  his  conviction  that  cold  was  good 
for  him. 

There  was  a  young  doctor  staying  in  the  hotel  who 
approached  me  with  a  warning  : 

"  Sir  Henry  looks  very  ill,  he  ought  to  take  more 
rest,  go  to  Egypt  next  winter  and  not  think  of  acting 
again.  He  won't  live  very  long  if  he  does  not 

That  afternoon,  after  we  had  been  to  hear  some 
clever  performance  of  the  elder  George  Grossmith's, 
and  he  had  gone  round  to  congratulate  him  upon  his 
big  audience,  I  demanded  of  Irving  : 


"  Supposing  you  were  told  that  you  would  live  ten 
years  if  you  would  rest  and  only  two  if  you  continue  to 
act,  what  would  you  do  ?  " 

Not  a  moment's  hesitation  went  to  the  answer,  "  I 
should  act." 

Just  before  Irving  started  work  at  Sheffield  he, 
Harry  and  I  had  visited  Drury  Lane  Theatre  to  see 
Alexander  in  The  Prodigal  Son.  When  we  emerged, 
and  I  was  sitting  in  the  carriage,  I  watched  those  two 
so  alike  beneath  the  pale  light  over  the  door  of  the 
Royal  entrance,  Harry  on  the  higher  step  with  his 
chin  almost  against  his  father's  shoulder,  the  two  spare 
gaunt  figures,  the  two  ultra-tall  hats  at  the  same  angle, 
the  identical  elegance  in  their  attitude  whilst  they 
puffed  at  their  cigars.  "  I  follow  after  "  seemed  clearly 
emblazoned  upon  Harry ;  alas  !  a  short  dream  so  soon 

A  couple  of  weeks  later  Irving's  life  closed  with 
awful  suddenness  at  Bradford.  "  Into  thy  hands," 
he  had  spoken  his  last  words  upon  the  stage  with 
Tennyson's  in  Becket. 

Many  have  conjectured  on  Irving's  feeling  about 
sudden  death.  I  knew  him  very  shocked  at  that  fate 
which  befell  his  friend  L.  F.  Austin.  He  realised, 
too,  the  overwhelming  blow  for  those  who  loved  and 
were  left,  and  he  repented  his  cynical  putting  forth 
of  "  A  few  thousand  pounds  might  compensate  ?  " 
as  soon  as  he  understood  the  true  pain  of  my 

I  can  quote  his  own  words  in  testimony  to  his 

"  I  believe  in  immortality,  and  my  faith  is 
strengthened  with  advancing  years  ;  without  faith  in 


things  spiritual  this  life  would  indeed  be  a  weary 

No  !  Irving  would  not  have  chosen  to  die  suddenly, 
and  at  work.  Leisure  with  love  to  it  from  his  sons  and 
his  friends,  he  had  intended  to  enjoy  after  his  farewell 
tour,  which  was  planned  to  reach  to  America. 

"  A  kindly  continent  to  me,  but  I  will  not  leave  my 
bones  there  if  I  can  help  it,"  he  had  written  when 
understanding  himself  too  weak  to  complete  the 
project  to  go  again. 

About  six  months  afterwards  Joseph  Hatton  came 
to  see  me,  and  I  only  make  allusion  to  the  flattering 
lines  he  wrote  upon  that  visit,  because  I  would 
correct  a  constantly  repeated  error  about  the  making 
of  the  pall  of  laurel  leaves  upon  which,  to  the  strains 
of  the  funeral  march  from  Coriolanus,  the  sun  put  its 
golden  stamp  in  Westminster  Abbey. 

I  designed  that  pall,  Harry  obtaining  for  me  a  special 
permission  that  it  might  be  used  instead  of  the  velvet 
one  chosen  for  Lord  Tennyson,  but  I  did  not  make  it 
personally.  It  was  the  work  of  accomplished  florists, 
thousands  of  leaves  went  to  its  contrivance,  mounted 
closely  to  cover  the  green  foundation,  and  it  could 
never  have  been  achieved  to  perfection  by  any  amateur 
in  a  few  days  and  nights.  I  believe  indeed  some  dozen 
workers  went  to  its  completion,  but  without  a  doubt 
the  effect  was  impressively,  grandly  symbolic.  Yet 
not  a  few  famous  have  granted  the  idea  the  flattery  of 
an  imitation  of  its  outward  seeming. 

How  have  I  dared  to  write  about  Irving  at  all  ?  I 
cannot  imagine,  but  since  the  life  of  the  people  is  the 
mainspring  of  every  history  I  shall  offer  no  excuse  for 
dwelling  strenuously  upon  the  personality  of  one  of 



Presented  to  the  London  Museum  by  Mrs.  Bram  Stoker. 

To  face  page  142 


the  greatest  of  these.  I  disclose  him  of  human  enchant- 
ment, taking  some  encouragement  from  his  own 
criticism  upon  the  life  of  Gladstone  : 

"  Three  volumes,  a  stupendous  book,  about  a  stu- 
pendous man,  politician  and  ecclesiastic.  As  a  bio- 
graphy, uninteresting,  because  there  are  no  trivialities 
which  make  up  existence  and  banish  pomposity/' 



I  FIND  it  very  difficult  to  write  about  Harry 
Irving,  the  sad  circumstance  of  his  death  is  so 
recent,  and  the  glad  circumstance  of  his  living 
is  sacrosanct  to  me,  since  in  all  that  concerned  us 
together,  and  there  was  much,  he  gave  me  a  dear  and 
tender  consideration  quite  unmeet  for  the  printed 

Upon  his  work  for  the  stage  it  is  easy  to  dwell,  and 
the  less  discerning  acclaim  primarily  his  Admirable 
Crichton  a  creation  of  fantasy  and  fun  served  with 
sentiment  and  an  irresistible  suavity. 

But  with  his  Hamlet,  which  by  reason  of  its  insistent 
vitality  and  clear  with  rapid  utterance  I  reckon  to  be 
the  most  fascinating  I  have  heard,  I  was  closely  con- 
nected, for  the  rehearsals  and  production  took  place 
during  a  convalescence  of  his  father's  when  we  were 
together  at  Torquay.  His  son's  venture  was  so  con- 
stantly in  the  mind  of  Irving  that  he  would  give  me 
whole  speeches  with  the  emphasis  and  action  he  him- 
self had  played  into  the  part.  None  of  De  Bureau 
went  to  his  attitude  towards  his  offspring  ;  and  on  the 
inaugural  night  the  authorities  kept  the  telegraph 
office  open  to  apprise  a  very  proud  father  of  the 
rapturous  reception  accorded  to  a  very  gifted  son. 

I  never  saw  the  Hamlet  of  Irving  the  father,  but  I 



often  watched  the  Hamlet  of  Irving  the  son,  and  once 
from  a  box  in  the  company  of  Irving,  whose  whispered 
commentary  on  every  movement  and  every  word  was 
not  the  least  elucidating  and  absorbing  part  of  the 
performance.  It  was  rather  an  ordeal  for  Harry,  but 
he  came  bravely  through,  although  as  luck  would  have 
it  that  night  he  was  threatened  with  a  serious  throat 
trouble,  and  an  anxious  wife  was  offering  him  beef  tea 
in  the  wings,  while  a  professor  of  breathing  exercises 
stood  hopefully  outside  his  dressing-room  door. 

Harry  presented  Hamlet  at  various  phases  in  his 
career  as  manager  in  London  and  in  the  country,  indeed 
for  more  than  twenty  years.  He,  so  to  speak,  rolled 
himself  up  in  that  inky  cloak,  and  seemed  at  times  to  be 
veritably  Hamlet,  in  all  moods,  now  harsh,  now  tender, 
now  grave,  now  gay,  but  not  truly  disinclined  to  the 
company  of  women,  who  by  the  way  showed  the  greater 
disposition  towards  him  the  less  he  encouraged  them. 

Harry  was  no  anchorite,  but  never  a  light  talker,  yet 
he  would  accept  more  gratefully  a  dinner  with  a  pretty 
neighbour  than  with  a  plain  one  ;  and  since  he  was 
invariably  charming,  he  owned  many  beautiful  and 
distinguished  adorers,  "  the  young  of  all  ages  "  I  used 
to  call  them,  and  they  came  in  their  numbers  to  the 
theatre  eager  to  snatch  a  chance  to  return  to  sup  with 
him  and  his  wife,  most  admirable  of  cooks,  with  a 
might-have-been-dangerous  tendency  to  believe, 

"  All's  right  in  the  world  so  long  as  Harry  is  amused 
and  contented. " 

Harry  was  student,  scholar,  reader,  recluse,  observer 
and  introspector,  but  never  the  philanderer,  notwith- 
standing that  fortune  had  so  well  provided  him.  Books 
and  books  and  books  again  absorbed  most  of  his  affec- 


tions,  and  his  library  grew  to  prodigious  proportions, 
excluding  no  worthy  modern  or  classic  author. 

But  while  he  inclined  towards  crime  in  others,  and 
gloried  in  concentrated  study  of  the  best  and  worst 
murders  in  two  cities,  the  investigation  of  their  state 
of  mind  being  his  first  ambition,  he  was  the  sweetest 
prince  that  ever  stepped  in  the  dominion  of  domesticity. 

To  hear  him  talk  of  his  daughter  Elizabeth  was  the 
whole  alphabet  of  paternal  love  and  joy. 

What  those  two  grew  to  be  to  each  other  made 
especially  cruel  the  tragedy  of  his  passing  on  whilst  she 
was  scarcely  on  the  threshold  of  her  exquisite  young 
girlhood,  which  he  would  have  watched  and  cherished 
and  guided  with  such  pride. 

He  was  a  fortunate  fellow,  for  he  married  the 
woman  he  loved,  and  he  loved  the  woman  he  married, 
and  their  children  beautifully  completed  the  union, 
Laurence,  the  firstborn,  flying  to  fame  and  the  Croix 
de  Guerre,  and  Elizabeth  being  just  Elizabeth  and  a 
world  of  happiness  to  him  in  the  mere  pronunciation 
of  her  name. 

Harry  was  ultra-sensitive,  or  perhaps  only  over- 
indulged .  The  theatre  was  his  inheritance ,  and  he  must 
guard  its  interests  zealously.  Here  was  his  conviction, 
and  he  was  well  fitted  to  his  task,  being  of  dignified 
demeanour,  of  ready  speech,  and  of  an  absolute  sin- 
cerity. As  a  leader,  or  the  ideal  President  of  a  Royal 
Academy  of  Acting  ?  as  a  delegate,  he  was  the  man  ; 
and  his  brother  actors  never  grudged  him  prominent 
place.  They  were  glad  of  him  as  representative,  spirit 
and  person  going  well  to  the  part  of  spokesman,  while, 
with  his  own  company,  he  would  never  hesitate  to 
preach  the  gospel  of  good,  would  take  trouble  to  hold 


this^one  from  drink  and  that  one  from  gambling, 
understanding  the  weaknesses  of  others,  and  never 
exhibiting  the  tiresome  attributes  of  the  prig,  and 
always  possessed  of  the  courage  to  voice  his  convictions. 

Very  characteristic  was  Harry's  attitude  when  an  air 
raid  was  dropping  bombs  on  the  Strand,  and  a  famous 
author  shielding  himself  from  shrapnel  under  an 
umbrella,  while  terrified  crowds  were  rushing  into  the 
vestibule  of  the  Savoy  Theatre  during  his  rehearsal  of 
a  new  play.  He  listened  to  the  tales  of  disaster  without, 
sent  word  that  he  would  gladly  be  invaded  by  any  who 
were  frightened,  and  returned  to  his  labours  on  the 
stage,  complete  calm  in  his  demeanour  while  he 
commanded  : 

"  Get  on  with  the  photographs/' 

Later,  during  the  war,  when  the  world  of  play-acting 
was  too  trivial  for  his  best  devotions,  he  left  the 
theatre  and  gave  his  time  to  the  Admiralty,  being 
placed,  strange  to  say,  in  the  most  obviously  suitable 
position,  the  Secret  Investigation  Department,  where 
he  remained  as  long  as  he  was  physically  able.  And 
during  that  time  I  saw  him  most  frequently,  for  he 
was  living  at  Harrow,  and  would  wait  with  me  for  the 
special  train  he  favoured. 

No  affectation  whatever  went  to  Harry  Irving,  and 
he  was  not  exactly  a  saint,  rather  the  complete  child 
in  simple  revelation  of  his  feelings,  of  his  entertainment, 
of  his  boredom. 

He  demanded  congenial  company,  or  he  would  have 
none,  alike  up  at  Oxford,  at  his  clubs,  and  in  Ws  home. 
Should  it  fail  him  entirely,  he  was  absent  or  dumb.  I 
have  known  him  enter  a  room,  look  around,  notice  a 
stranger,  deliberately  throw  a  brick  of  his  disapproval 


of  him  by  an  overpowering  silence.  Moody  and  dull 
he  was  with  those  he  did  not  care  about,  and  you  could 
read  in  his  preoccupied  mien  "  a  waste  of  time." 

Should  he  speak  at  all  then,  he  would  be  quick  to 
controversy,  glad  to  make  argument  with  an  uncon- 
genial, and  rarely  persuadable  to  the  casual  course  of 
conversation.  But  if  treated  temperately,  and  not 
rushed  to  the  more  patently  polite  conclusion,  he  would 
occasionally  repent,  and  on  a  certain  afternoon  he  came 
in  like  a  lion  to  growl  at  a  lamb  of  God  he  had  not 
expected  to  find,  and  therefore  instinctively  resented, 
until  he  was  wooed  to  interest  by  a  well-expressed  view 
of  the  piety  and  true  religion  which  might  be  observed 
in  criminals. 

Harry  was  on  to  this  at  once,  drawing  his  chair  up 
round  the  fire,  restraining  all  further  furtive  glances  at 
the  door,  whence  he  had  intended  to  make  immediate 
escape,  and  entering  with  enthusiasm  into  a  discussion 
of  the  psychology  of  the  thief,  with  one  foot  in  a  fire- 
proof safe  and  the  other  in  a  fire-proof  hell. 

The  curtain  on  that  converse  did  not  descend  until 
2  a.m.,  but  the  epilogue  of  friendship  remained  un- 
spoken, Harry  having  squeezed  the  informer  dry,  left 
him  to  work  out  his  own  salvation  with  that  of  others. 

But  devoted  as  Harry  was  to  the  study  of  crime, 
impressed  as  he  might  be  with  his  duty  as  a  citizen, 
distressed  at  the  disaster  and  cruelty  engendered  by 
patriotism,  yet  the  heart  of  him  was  in  the  tradition  of 
the  theatre,  a  strange  truth  since  the  theatre  is  after 
all  but  make-believe,  yet  he  had  the  hereditary  faith 
in  its  fine  influence,  its  possibilities  to  uplift  and  to 
teach,  whilst  undoubtedly  he  took  considerable  pleasure 
in  acting. 


Physically  also  Harry  resembled  his  father  in  much, 
although  their  chins  and  their  brows  were  as  markedly 
different  as  the  tales  of  their  lives,  for  whereas  Irving 
fought  every  inch  of  the  battle  alone  upon  the  hardest 
roads,  Harry  walked  ever  upon  velvet,  thick  laid  with 
an  anxious  devotion. 

I  am  so  proud  of  a  letter  he  once  sent  to  me. 

"  You  do  write  the  most  cheering,  delightful  and 
encouraging  letters.  It  does  one's  heart  good  to  get 
such  a  message.  Your  faith  and  trust  mean  a  great 
deal  to  me.  There  is  no  one  who  seems  to  understand 
me  and  sympathise  with  me  as  you  do,  and  it  is  a  happy 
and  cheering  thought  that  it  is  perhaps  because  you 
loved  and  felt  with  father,  and  know  how  he  would 
have  regarded  things.  Times  theatrically  are  very 
difficult  just  now,  and  the  whole  rather  chaotic.  Com- 
petition is  terribly  severe.  We  have  to  fight  against 
opposition  unknown  thirty  years  ago.  It  is  going  to 
be  a  struggle  to  hold  our  own  in  present  conditions. 
Where  will  you  be  next  week  ?  I  want  so  much  to  see 
you  and  have  a  talk.  You  are  a  dear,  and  I  so  enjoyed 
that  long,  I  hope  not  too  long,  afternoon  we  had 
together.  Yours  ever,  H.  B.  I." 

As  all  the  world  knows,  H.  B.  Irving  was  a  fine 
speaker  on  many  topics,  and  had  for  years  delivered 
lectures  at  the  Royal  Institute  and  in  all  parts  of  the 
country,  yet  it  was  surprising  that  he  should  receive  a 
request  to  preach  at  St.  Martin 's-in-the-Fields. 

He  accepted  the  idea  with  his  usual  diffidence  and 
the  query  of  "  a  free  hand  ?  " 

He  made  his  subject,  "  The  amusement  of  the 


people,"  setting  forth  his  points  with  such  apt  skill 
that  the  ecclesiastical  authorities  were  not  entirely 
gratified  by  his  tale. 

No  prelate,  however  enlightened,  could  perhaps  be 
expected  to  be  quite  pleased  by  : 

'  When  one  thinks  of  all  the  harm  that  has  been 
done  in  this  world  in  the  name  of  religion  by  kings 
and  princes  and  statesmen,  really  of  all  human  employ- 
ment, the  theatre  seems  to  be  the  most  innocent,  the 
least  susceptible  of  mischief  and  perversion. " 

"  At  any  rate  our  present  attitude  towards  Sunday 
amusement  is  both  illogical  and  hypocritical ;  cine- 
matograph theatres  are  allowed  to  be  open  on  Sunday 
on  a  condition  that  they  give  some  comparatively  small 
portion  of  their  proceeds  to  charity.  But  if  on  Sunday 
in  a  cause  purely  for  charity  someone  wants  to  play  a 
play  of  Shakespeare's,  or  even  a  little  duologue  of  a 
most  harmless  and  innocent  character,  it  is  forbidden. 
Here  we  have  humbug  in  its  highest  and  best  mani- 
festation. What  are  you  as  a  Church  going  to  say  to 
insincerity  of  this  kind  ?  Are  you  going  to  say  that  all 
Sunday  entertainment  is  sinful,  or  to  accept  an  evasion 
of  the  principle,  which  deliberately  excludes  all  that 
is  highest  and  most  elevating  in  dramatic  art  ?  .  .  . 

You  of  the  Church  can  do  something  in  recognising 
first  of  all  that  the  amusement  of  the  people  is  as 
natural  and  wholesome  a  necessity  as  their  health  or 
spiritual  welfare.  Never  has  the  public  been  catered 
for  so  prodigally  as  to-day,  and  that  prodigality  will 
certainly  not  get  less  as  time  goes  on.  You  cannot 
hope  to  stem  the  tide,  take  it  at  the  flood  and  try  your 


To  face  page  150 


utmost  to  guide  at  least  a  part  of  it  into  worthy  channels, 
so  you  will  be  serving,  I  believe,  not  only  the  cause  of 
art  but  indirectly  the  cause  of  religion.  The  art  of 
the  theatre  is  a  great  art,  and  the  gifts  of  the  play-writer 
and  actor  are  as  much  God's  gifts  as  the  gifts  of  poet, 
painter  and  musician." 

There  was  a  great  deal  more  to  it,  all  excellent,  but 
the  Bishop  of  London  is  not  yet  a  professing  playgoer, 
albeit  lesser  lights  of  the  Church  have  been  known  to 
crowd  to  special  performances  with  orders — holy  orders ! 

It  was  with  Harry  I  first  made  entry  into  the  studio 
of  Thomas  Brock,  sculptor,  to  whom  was  entrusted  the 
statue  to  Irving,  for  which  all  the  members  of  the  pro- 
fession had  united  in  purse  and  power  to  secure  pride 
of  place  near  the  National  Portrait  Gallery. 

What  a  fine  fellow  I  found  Brock,  the  embodiment  of 
simplicity,  keen  in  his  desire  for  our  opinion  on  the 
likeness,  for  he  had  only  met  Irving  once  in  his  life, 
and  the  task  was  not  easy  with  so  many  to  criticise  and 
give  counsel  on  the  attitude  and  the  gesture.  Everyone 
seems  to  have  had  something  to  say  about  the  costume 
too,  for  all  had  agreed  he  should  not  be  presented  as 
an  actor,  but  as  a  man,  while  it  was  impossible  to  hope 
for  a  righteously  artistic  result  in  a  frock-coat.  How- 
ever, the  happiest  mean  was  arrived  at,  and  often  after- 
wards I  sat  with  Brock  in  the  studio  whilst  he  was  at 
work  on  Queen  Victoria's  memorial. 

"  British  I  desire  it  to  be,  definitely  British,"  and  no 
one  can  stand  opposite  that  white  gold-crowned  pile 
with  its  typical  groups  and  bronze  interruptions  and 
note  the  splendid  sturdiness  with  the  beauty  of  its  art 
without  understanding  that  Sir  Thomas  Brock,  K.C.B., 


realised  his  own  conception  of  his  duty,  and  did  it  most 
splendidly  well. 

With  this  and  Gladstone's  figure  in  the  Strand,  and 
Irving 's  in  Charing  Cross  Road,  Brock  will  live  through 
many  centuries.  He  is  at  work  yet  in  the  studio  where 
he  first  came  a  youth  to  study  under  Foley,  the 
sculptor,  and  where  recently  I  took  Harry's  son 
Laurence,  who  is  well  on  the  way  to  a  career  as  artist 
on  canvas  and  stone. 

They  are  odd  coincidences  that  the  last  appearance 
which  Sir  Henry  Irving  made  upon  the  stage  should 
have  been  at  His  Majesty's  Theatre  when  he  played 
Waterloo  for  the  benefit  of  Lionel  Brough,  and  that 
the  last  appearance  of  H.  B.  Irving  on  the  stage  was 
also  at  His  Majesty's  Theatre,  and  for  the  benefit  of  the 
Royal  Pension  Fund.  Odd  again  too  that  my  last  letter 
from  Irving  was  concerned  with  the  Shylock  of 
Bourchier,  and  that  the  last  time  I  saw  H.  B.  Irving 
we  talked  of  the  Shylock  of  Muscovitch. 

"  Not  like  father's,  eh  ?  "  he  had  said,  and  I  assured 
him  not. 

He  died  two  days  afterwards,  and  upon  his  grave- 
stone, which  is  set  in  a  rock  garden  overflowing  with 
blossom,  are  inscribed  some  verses,  which  he  had  ever 
loved,  written  by  Clough  : 

"  Say  not  the  struggle  nought  availeth, 
The  labour  and  the  wounds  are  vain, 
The  enemy  faints  not  nor  faileth, 
And  as  things  have  been,  they  remain. 

And  not  by  Eastern  windows  only, 
When  daylight  conies,  comes  in  the  light, 
In  front,  the  sun  climbs  slow,  how  slowly, 
But  westward,  look,  the  land  is  bright." 


I  knew  Laurence  Irving  long  before  I  knew  Harry, 
but  never  so  well.  He  had  few  intimates  before  his 
marriage,  and  afterwards  none  so  congenial  as  his 
wife,  Mabel  Hackney,  who  was  for  some  time  in  the 
company  with  him  and  his  father. 

I  remember  so  well  a  letter  from  America  which 
came  to  announce  a  suspicion  of  this  growing  attach- 
ment. Irving  had  a  most  keen  eye  for  romantic  in- 
trigues, nothing  ever  escaped  him,  and  he  saw  more 
when  he  wasn't  looking  than  Argus  might  have 
glimpsed  beneath  the  light  of  the  harvest  moon. 

"  Miss  Hackney,"  it  appeared,  "  was  trudging  round 
New  York  carrying  books  for  Laurence. "  That 
settled  it,  I  suspect,  her  docile  acceptance  of  the  burden 
of  books,  for  Laurence,  like  Harry,  was  devoted  to 

But  although  he  and  I  never  grew  to  the  completest 
sympathy  until  after  the  death  of  his  father,  we  had  many 
cheery  hours  together,  when  he  would  prove  a  most 
delightful  companion,  and  of  that  superlative  ability 
which  went  to  the  making  of  several  plays  ;  of  Peter 
the  Great,  of  Lovelace,  and  of  his  dramatic  adaptation  of 
Dostoieffsky's  Crime  and  Punishment,  of  his  translation 
of  Les  Hannetons  into  The  Incubus,  and  to  his  splendid 
acting  in  The  Typhoon  and  in  Ibsen's  Pretenders. 

When  talking  to  Laurence  I  found  it  hard  to  per- 
suade him  of  the  admiration  he  had  widely  won,  or  of 
the  deep  love  of  his  father,  whom  he  adored. 

It  is  not  easy  to  convince  one  silent  undemonstrative 
man  of  the  affection  of  another  of  like  habit. 

When  sometimes  I  said  to  Irving,  "  Laurence  does 
not  believe  you  truly  love  him,"  he  would  look  very 
serious,  and  then  with  sly  fun  : 


"  Does  he  want  me  to  kiss  him  ?  " 

Laurence  could  not  help  his  own  disposition,  and 
his  more  wary  ways,  perhaps  nurtured  in  his  earliest 
years,  and  further  encouraged  during  the  time  spent 
in  Russia  in  preparation  for  Diplomacy,  an  idea  he 
subsequently  abandoned.  He  was  suspicious  of  most 
people,  indeed  he  was  never  quite  sure  of  my  honour- 
able intentions,  but  he  grew  resigned  gradually  to  my 
constant  presence,  and  he  would  seek  me  often  in  coun- 
cil, and  would  say  with  half-jesting  envy,  when  noting 
what  affectionate  terms  Harry  and  I  had  achieved  : 

"  I  am  the  second  son  of  old  Sir  Rowland,"  in  quota- 
tion from  As  You  Like  It ;  for  even  while  he  deeply 
admired  his  brother,  he  would,  almost  against  his 
inclination,  wonder  whether  Harry's  superior  fortune 
had  been  merited. 

He  was  rather  restless  and  dissatisfied,  argumentative, 
rebellious,  "  always  agin  the  Government,"  his  father 
would  say  of  him  with  such  tender  pride  going  to  the 
pronouncement.  Like  Harry,  Laurence  was  lucky  in 
his  marriage,  except  that  it  lacked  the  children  he  always 
desired,  and  although  he  would  vary  his  own  policy, 
should  this  be  right  ?  would  that  be  good  ?  shall  I 
succeed  ?  shall  I  make  money  ?  he  was  ever  certain 
of  the  course  his  father  should  pursue.  "  My  father 
ought  "  to  do  so  and  so,  or  so  and  so,  he  would  dogma- 
tise ;  and  amongst  the  many  things  that  Laurence 
thought  his  father  should  not  do  was  to  occupy  the 
centre  of  the  stage  as  Shylock  whilst  he  was  playing 
Antonio.  Amongst  the  things  he  thought  his  father 
should  do  was,  however,  to  produce  Captain  Brass- 
bound's  Conversion  ;  his  arguments  in  favour  of  this 
were  voluble,  and  extensive  on  one  wearisome  after- 


noon  when  he  enforced  his  plea  by  reading  the  play 
aloud  to  me  from  beginning  to  end,  not  exactly  en- 
couraging me  to  back  up  his  advice,  but  had  I  done 
so  I  am  aware  the  result  would  have  been  exactly  the 
same.  Irving  was  never  persuaded  to  produce  any 
play  he  did  not  wish  to  produce,  nor  for  that  matter  to 
do  anything  he  didn't  think  it  well  to  do. 

Laurence  acted  much  with  his  father,  Harry  never, 
although  both  daughters-in-law  were  in  his  company 
for  a  considerable  time,  Mabel  Hackney  being  the 
best  conceivable  dauphin  in  Louis  the  Eleventh,  whilst 
Dorothea  presented  Julie  in  The  Lyons  Mail  with  a 
magnificently  vigorous  shriek,  and  both  endowed 
Annette  in  The  Bells  with  the  essential  vivacity.  No 
one  was  ever  as  good  in  Waterloo  as  Mabel,  and  I  have 
seen  at  least  half  a  dozen  assume  the  gentle  charm  of 
the  girl  from  the  country  who  came  to  tend  her  uncle 
"  all  the  way  by  train. " 

Mabel  Hackney  might  in  truth  be  termed  the  ideal 
mate  for  Laurence.  "  Launy,"  as  she  used  to  call  him 
when  they  sat  with  me  together  with  the  beloved  grey- 
haired  Irish  terrier  to  play  "  the  dog  between."  She 
shared  all  his  ambitions  and  his  labours,  read  with 
him,  worked  with  him,  talked  with  him,  no  matter  how 
tired  she  might  be.  She  managed  all  his  tours,  learnt 
typewriting  for  his  benefit,  and,  so  far  as  she  could, 
took  every  business  worry  from  his  shoulders,  attend- 
ing on  him  with  no  less  assiduity  at  home  than  at  the 

He  could  do  nothing  without  her,  and  I  recall  once 
when  Irving  and  I  and  my  daughter  were  at  Minehead 
we  drove  over  to  fetch  them  from  some  cottage  they 
occupied  near  The  Quantocks,  and  Laurence's  attempt 


to  pack  his  own  clothes  resulted  in  his  appearing  that 
night  at  dinner  minus  a  necktie  or  a  waistcoat,  in  a 
black  evening  jacket  and  blue  serge  trousers.  Laurence 
had  the  abstracted  way,  but  he  cared  so  desperately  for 
what  he  might  be  planning  at  the  time  that  all  else  in 
the  world  was  obscured  to  him. 

Slackness  could  never  be  attributed  to  him  when  at 
work  or  preaching  scarlet  Socialism,  and  his  health  was 
luckily  of  the  first  robust  order.  He  was  a  fine  fellow 
physically  and  mentally,  and  when  news  came  to  me 
that  he  and  his  wife  were  drowned  in  the  St.  Lawrence 
River  I  could  only  reiterate  again  and  again,  "  I  am 
glad  Irving  is  dead,  he  could  not  have  borne  this." 

My  box  of  treasured  letters  holds  one  Laurence 
wrote  to  me  after  he  had  knelt  by  the  bedside  of  his 
father  on  the  day  of  the  calamity  at  Bradford.  A  few 
lines  of  it  run  : 

"  But  there  was  much  love  in  his  nature,  and  those 
who  would  say  he  only  worshipped  and  loved  his 
success  wronged  him. 

Nothing  must  ever  break  the  tie  that  exists  between 
us,  the  affection  we  both  had  for  my  dear  father  ;  I 
shall  always  be  grateful  to  you  for  all  you  did  to  relieve 
and  brighten  the  solitude  of  his  last  years.  I  wished 
yesterday  you  could  have  seen  him  as  he  lay  there  as 
calmly  as  if  he  were  asleep. 

I  don't  write  to  you  about  the  loss  to  dramatic  art 
and  the  nation,  that  is  for  others.  I  write  to  you  as  to 
one  who  was  very  fond  of  him,  and  of  course  this  is 
from  us  both,  Mabel  as  well  as  me. 

Affectionately  yours, 



To  face  page  156 


Later,  after  we  had  read  many  printed  pages  of 
sheer  eulogy,  Laurence,  characteristically  discontented, 
would  say,  "  I  wish  they  would  not  make  such  a  white- 
winged  angel  of  father.  He  was  never  that." 

However,  we  agreed  upon  accepting  Max  Beer- 
bohm's  summary,  "  A  great  romantic  figure,  and  his 
death  is  like  the  loss  of  a  legend/' 



THE  death  of  Henry  Irving  brought  to  con- 
clusion the  best  epoch  of  my  life,  which  has 
been  definitely  divided  into  four  parts,  the 
careless,  the  commercial,  the  devotional  and  the  idly 

What  good  for  others  I  have  done  in  any  of  these  is 
deplorably  little. 

"  Unto  him  who  works  and  feels  he  works  the  same 
grand  year  is  ever  at  the  door,"  but  there  is  no  such  hope 
for  her  who  plays  and  knows  she  plays,  deliberately 
setting  aside  any  serious  labour  and  any  serious  thought 
on  any  serious  circumstances.  I  might  dwell  sadly 
upon  my  missed  chances,  but  dwelling  sadly  upon 
anything  is  not  amongst  my  habits,  to  live  and  laugh  in 
the  sunlight  being  my  lower  ambition,  whilst  I  ponder 
as  little  as  maybe,  and  talk  as  long  as  I  can,  knowing 
my  politics  are  mainly  platonic  and  my  faith  vaguely 
and  beautifully  accompanied  by  angels  draped  in 

Mrs.  J.  E.  Panton  used  to  tell  me  to  greet  gladly 
old  age  because  it  is  so  restful. 

Mrs.  Panton  is  a  very  wise  creature  with  a  delicate 
air  of  a  Cosway  miniature  and  slim  white  fingers  en- 
circled with  many  coloured  jewels.  She  sits  at  ease  now 


ABOUT  MRS.  J.  E.  PANTON  159 

gowned  in  black  silk,  diatribing  against  the  ways  of 
to-day,  airing  her  old  grievance  against  her  father, 
Derby  Day  Frith,  R.A.,  whose  double  matrimonial  life 
remains  eternally  amongst  her  disgruntles.  She  boasts 
a  moral  outlook  of  the  violent  Victorian  type,  and 
although  only  about  a  dozen  years  older  than  I  am, 
she  persists  with  a  flattering  smile  to  talk  to  me  as 
if  I  were  in  my  first  youth.  We  agree  that  every- 
one is  most  capable  of  legislating  for  others,  and 
know  that  the  world  would  be  rather  dull  should  we 
have  no  chance  to  cavil  at  the  coiffure  or  conduct 
of  Mrs.  A.,  or  at  Mr.  B.'s  treatment  of  his  wife,  or  at 
Mrs.  C.'s  management  of  her  business,  or  at  Mr.  D.'s 
achievement  of  his  pleasure,  which  are  all  alike  impos- 
sible of  universal  approval. 

What  then  can  I  bring  to  judgment  of  myself  by 
myself  ?  Those  few  nightshirts  for  the  soldiers  which 
I  endowed  with  embroidery  to  limit  the  output,  and 
some  pneumonia  jackets  stabbed  in  silk  to  the  high- 
class  commendation  of  Lady  Bland-Sutton. 

Incidentally  I  always  regret  the  energy  which  goes 
to  bazaars  in  the  acquirement  of  goods  and  their  dis- 
posal, knowing  that  the  direct  presentation  of  the  ex- 
penditure might  total  to  more  profit,  while  far  less 
fatigue  and  far  more  entertainment  are  involved  in  a 
public  dance. 

But  yet  I  have  a  pleasant  memory  of  one  bazaar, 
which  was  of  course  conducted,  as  all  good  bazaars 
are,  upon  the  lines  of  Mark  Twain's  city  where 
the  Chinamen  lived  by  taking  in  each  other's 

However,  I  sold  to  Queen  Alexandra  a  little  jacket 
made  by  my  mother,  who  with  all  the  enthusiasm  of 


her  age  was  enchanted  to  hear  of  the  royal  destiny 
which  befell  her  handiwork. 

But  that  properly  loyal  spirit  was  not  so  blatant 
a  few  weeks  after  King  Edward's  coronation,  when 
during  a  journey  in  a  third-class  carriage  I  was  much 
entertained  by  a  pair  of  old  crones  watching  a  down- 
pour splashing  the  windows  while  they  dialogued  : 

"  Raining  hard,  ain't  it  ?  'E  don't  Jave  the  weather 
'is  mother  'ad,  do  'e  ?  " 

"  No,  p'raps  'e  don't  deserve  it  neither." 

But  I  want  to  confess  to  my  cowardice  during  air 
raids  when  I  was  dangerously  threatened  by  the  glass 
skylight  to  my  flat  in  Fitzroy  Square,  where  the  old 
cellars  were  most  inviting,  and  I  sat  one  night  with 
my  cook,  whose  prayers  for  forgiveness  were  so  loud 
and  so  heartrending  I  had  to  reproach  her  into  smiles 
with  : 

:t  I  had  no  idea  you  were  such  a  bad  cook  and  such 
a  careless  calculator." 

Another  evening  of  terror  was  spent  there  behind 
curtains  in  a  darkened  room,  while  Harold  Begbie 
preached  faith  and  hope  to  me  in  full  view  of  a  lighted 
airship  hovering  over  the  dim  square. 

I  contrast  myself  most  unworthily  with  Irene 
Scharrer  who  rented  that  flat  for  the  birth  of  her  baby 
and  was  visited  by  an  air  raid  some  three  days  after 
the  event,  when  she  calmly  allowed  herself  to  be  carried 
to  the  cellar,  showing,  I  was  told,  through  the  day  and 
night  a  serene  demeanour  and  a  complete  absence  of 
fear.  All  honour  to  her. 

No,  I  cannot  excuse  my  futility  even  to  myself,  and 
I  am  sure  should  I  venture  to  try  and  enter  heaven  on 
any  pretension  I  should  deserve  the  same  answer  as  he 



who  pleaded  on  the  strength  of  a  couple  of  coppers 
once  given  to  a  beggar  : 

"  Take  your  damned  twopence  and  go  below." 

Meanwhile  I  remain  here  yet  cultivating  my  gre- 
garious germ,  but  daring  to  confess  now  I  grow  tired 
of  making  excursions  with  it  at  all  times. 

I  have  become  the  reluctant  diner  out,  more  content 
to  take  my  later  meals  alone,  the  theatre  or  reception 
to  follow  being  yet  among  acceptable  and  accepted 
pleasures.  The  old  Duke  of  Northumberland  used  to 
say,  pointing  to  a  small  table  at  the  furthest  end  of 
his  lofty  library  in  the  ancient  Northern  Castle, 
"  That's  what  it  all  comes  to,  a  cutlet  and  a  glass  of 
port."  But  I  have  not  arrived  there  yet,  and  it  must 
not  be  thought  that  my  evening  meal  by  my  own  fire- 
side is  of  the  salt-haddock-upon-the-knee  type,  popu- 
larly supposed  to  be  the  favourite  food  of  the  lonely 
female,  while  she  reads  the  last  edition  and  is  well 
convinced  of  the  unrighteousness  of  the  prevailing 
ways.  But  I  am  greatly  conscious  that  there  is  some- 
thing to  be  said  in  favour  of  real  old  age,  but  complete 
restfulness  is  not  upon  the  lower  shelf  which  I  occupy, 
and  I  reply  gladly  to  the  call  of  any  invitation  which 
seems  to  point  joyously.  A  party  holds  perennial 
charm  for  me,  so  that  it  shall  be  a  party  composed 
of  the  best  sympathetic  material. 

W.  L.  George  is  amongst  my  friends  who  have  a 
perfect  passion  for  parties.  He  is  always  arranging 
these  and  peremptory  in  their  announcement  through 
a  very  Dearly  in  the  morning  telephone,  "  Come  here, 
come  there,  come  anywhere,  but  come." 

Of  many  such  commands  I  recall  one  which 
ran ; 


"  You  must  come  to  dinner  to-night  to  meet  the 
American  actor  James  K.  Hackett.  He  knew  Irving 
and  wants  to  know  you.  Don't  argue,  and  don't  be 
selfish,  8  o'clock  sharp." 

There  it  was,  and  so  it  came  to  pass  that  I  met  J.  K. 
Hackett,  and  we  grew  to  intimacy  almost  at  first  sight, 
when  we  talked  yesterday,  to-day  and  to-morrow,  and 
I  learnt  the  amazing  fact  that  he  was  born  when  his 
father  was  seventy  years  old. 

Hackett  is  a  fine  figure  of  a  man,  and  if  I  were  a  little 
younger,  or  a  little  older,  I  might  have  dared  to  admire 
his  grace  and  his  power.  As  it  was  I  just  listened  to 
him  respectfully  while  he  told  me  his  views  of  Macbeth 
which  were  then  crystallising  to  a  London  production, 
and  then  he  related  an  experience  which  even  to  the 
least  psychic  would  have  offered  food  for  deep  reflec- 
tion. James  K.  Hackett  had,  like  Pharaoh,  dreamt  a 
dream  ;  but  no  symbolism  went  to  its  significance,  no 
prophecy  of  prosperity  or  of  poverty.  It  was  a  plain 
unadulterated  dream  of  disaster,  and  the  terrific 
tragedy  of  it  was  related  immediately,  so  that  no 
hallucination  or  exaggeration  went  to  the  detail  simply 
and  promptly  transmitted.  None  the  less  it  is  as 
difficult  to  believe  in  the  occurrence  as  to  comprehend 
the  mystery  of  its  inspiration. 

Hackett,  possessed  always  of  an  immense  reverence 
for  Irving,  whom  he  had  known  well  in  America,  was 
also  intimate  with  Harry,  and  had  asked  him  in  town 
to  act  lago  to  his  Othello. 

Harry,  while  regretting  that  his  other  engagements 
did  not  permit  this,  proposed  : 

"  Laurence  might  be  able  to  come.  He  is  an 
excellent  lago,  and  played  the  character  with  Tree." 

ABOUT  JAMES  K.  HACKETT          163 

"  I  don't  know  Laurence  ;  what  does  he  look  like  ? 
I  should  be  very  pleased  to  have  him  with  me,  but  I 
am  pledged  to  go  to  Paris  to-day.  Do  you  think  he 
would  come  there  and  talk  the  matter  over  ?  J! 

Harry  promised  to  try  and  arrange  it  so. 

The  following  night  Hackett,  awaking  suddenly  from 
his  sleep,  told  of  a  terrible  nightmare  with  a  ship  in 
distress,  of  a  drowned  man  on  the  beach,  and  of  many 
awful  moments  which  had  gone  in  a  vain  attempt  to 
revive  him. 

"  Strange,  strange, "  he  repeated  to  his  wife,  Beatrice 
Beckley,  "  it  is  all  so  vivid,  so  clear,  and  we  tried  hard 
to  bring  him  round." 

In  the  morning  the  New  York  Herald  published  a 
portrait  of  Laurence  Irving  with  the  news  that  he  had 
been  drowned. 

'  That  is  the  face  of  the  man  of  my  dream,"  cried 
Hackett  as  he  looked  at  the  pictured  page  ;  "  that  is 
his  face,  and  he  was  so  pale,  and  the  water  ran  from 
his  hair.  I  shall  never  forget  it." 

Why  this  prevision  should  have  been  granted  time 
will  never  reveal,  for  undoubtedly  the  American  actor 
knew  little  of  the  English  actor,  while  it  was  certain 
that  he  had  never  seen  him,  and  the  casual  observer 
would  not  be  prone  to  grant  unto  James  K.  Hackett 
any  specially  spiritual  attribute. 

Despite  the  fine  exercise  of  his  imagination  in  his 
Macbeth,  and  I  have  seen  none  better,  he  is  yet  promi- 
nently upon  the  material  side. 

"  J.  K.,"  as  his  friends  love  to  call  him,  has  achieved 
much  over  here,  and  the  fact  of  his  being  invited  by 
the  French  Government  to  appear  at  the  Odeon  as 
Macbeth  and  Othello,  with  the  unique  result  of  the 


presentation  of  the  Legion  d'Honneur,  made  inter- 
national history,  bordering  upon  the  political  line. 

During  that  eventful  week  in  Paris  the  authoritative 
hustling  methods  of  the  man  from  New  York  gave 
occasion  to  some  fun  with  rapid  work  for  those 
watching  devotedly  his  interests  over  here. 

The  telephone  bell  rang. 

"  You  are  wanted  by  Paris,  madam/'  Our  very 
modern  J.  K.  employed  my  daughter  as  his  business 
representative,  therefore  it  would  not  be  right  for  me 
to  mention  that  his  geniality,  his  generosity  and  the 
magnetic  charm  of  him  combine  to  make  him  deeply 
beloved  by  all  who  serve  him. 

"  Wanted  on  the  telephone  from  Paris  "  was  a 
prelude  to  a  rush  of  desire  to  secure  anything,  every- 
thing, that  might  be  needed. 

"  Gemier  decided  not  to  act ;  please  send  over  at 
once  an  lago,  letter  perfect. " 

As  the  performance  was  to  take  place  two  days 
after  this  mandate,  it  was  not  quite  easy  to  obey  it. 
However,  needs  must  when  affection  drives,  and  H.  A. 
Saintsbury  was  found  willing  to  answer  to  the  call, 
possessing  a  passport  as  luck  would  have  it,  and  being 
fully  equipped  with  many  years  of  experience. 

But  this  was  not  the  end  of  that  perfect  day's 

Seven  p.m.  '  You  are  wanted  on  the  telephone 
from  Paris,  madam, "  gave  a  little  cause  for  anxiety, 
and  a  prayer  that  there  was  no  demand  for  a  Desde- 
mona,  since  Mrs.  Hackett  was  the  ideal  already 

"  Decided  to  have  understudy  for  Malcolm.  Can 
you  forward  by  aeroplane  the  man  I  had  in  London  ?  " 

ABOUT  JAMES  K.  HACKETT          165 

Some  commands  these,  one  lago  by  train  and  one 
Malcolm  by  aeroplane.  Whiteley,  the  Universal 
Provider,  might  have  been  put  to  it  in  proving  his  title, 
but  the  appointed  was  worthy  of  her  hire,  the  wishes 
of  Hackett  were  not  gainsaid,  what  he  wanted  he  had, 
and  there  was  an  end  to  it. 

J.  K.  was  known  as  a  matin6e  idol  of  the  deepest 
dye,  when  he  walked  to  his  triumph  in  the  States  in 
The  Prisoner  of  Zenda,  but  he  always  denied  this 
accusation,  yet  it  is  obvious  that  he  could  execute  the 
pas  de  fascination,  and  to  be  sure  the  majority  of  women 
would  deny  now  the  existence  of  such  a  character  as  a 
matinee  idol.  She  is  quite  certain  she  is  no  more 
attracted  by  actors  than  by  others. 

I  am  possessed  with  an  idea  that  I  understand 
women,  while  I  am  quite  aware  she  would  contradict 
this.  At  any  rate  I  am  tolerant  of  her,  and  I  am  as 
convinced  as  I  dare  be  that  she  rapidly  approaches  the 
reactionary  stage,  growing  inclined  towards  matrimony 
and  maternity. 

She  can  talk  as  much  as  she  likes,  and  she  does  about 
her  desire  for  freedom  and  her  content  in  an  Adamless 
Eden,  but  seldom  is  either  assertion  actually  true. 
The  normal  girl  is  exactly  like  she  always  was  in  the 
heart  of  her,  and  given  a  sufficiency  of  income  to  meet 
her  needs  which  necessarily  vary,  she  just  wants  a 
husband  and  a  baby. 

Having  secured  them,  it  is  possible  that  she  may 
only  enjoy  them  for  a  few  years,  and  then  be  off  for 
adventure  in  some  more  exciting  arena  than  she  can 
find  round  the  domestic  hearth. 

But  as  someone  else  observed,  marriage  is  the  proper 
conclusion  of  every  woman's  education,  even  though 


it  doesn't  complete  it  to  finality ;  for  this  she  must 
plough  her  way  through  the  world  of  experience, 
pleasure  and  pain. 

It  is  as  open  to  dispute  whether  the  woman  of 
achievement  in  public  service  is  as  happy  as  she  of 
the  narrower  intellect  who  waits  contentedly  to  wel- 
come the  evening  return  of  her  husband,  as  it  is  in- 
controvertible that  public  life  to-day  destitute  of  the 
services  of  woman  would  be  very  difficult  to  carry  on. 

Ah  !  there  is  the  rub.  It  is  impossible  to  visualise 
political  and  industrial  affairs  independent  of  the  help 
of  woman. 

No  Government  Department  would  fairly  deny  this, 
indeed  all  use  her  in  the  highest  branches,  and  there 
is  not  a  municipal  administration  able  to  carry  on 
comfortably  without  her,  while  we  must  recognise  that 
some  of  the  best  hospitals  are  managed  and  staffed 
by  her,  and  that  the  multitude  of  her  industries  in  the 
charitable  way  adds  up  to  incalculable  sum. 

Therefore  should  she  be  allowed,  as  indeed  she  is, 
a  greater  measure  of  tolerance  than  formerly,  so  would 
she  be  well  persuaded  not  to  outstep  the  constable — by 
the  way  what  an  admirable  policeman  she  does  make — 
and  be  sufficiently  considerate  to  evade  the  unfortunate 
position  of  being  beholden  to  her  man's  earnings  to 
keep  well  above  the  valley  of  debt. 

Nothing  so  humiliating  and  degrading  should  be 
her  lot  as  an  announcement  that  some  ungrateful 
husband  or  another  had  firmly  decided  not  to  be 
responsible  for  her  liabilities.  Far  better  to  wear  the 
silk  stockings  of  an  artificial  life  than  to  choose  to  dis- 
honourable financial  disaster  a  finer  quality  with 
openwork  clox.  Would  nine-tenths  of  the  world 

ABOUT  W.  L.  GEORGE  167 

of  women  prefer  to  sit  in  a  maternity  gown  expectant 
with  a  monthly  nurse,  or  tread  the  firm  measure 
up  the  aisle  of  Westminster  following  the  footsteps 
of  Lady  Astor,  who  has,  however,  long  since  obtained 
the  maternity  degree  up  to  the  sixth  form  ?  I  wonder  ? 
even  though  Gradgrind  said,  "  Never  wonder  "  ;  but 
there  are  so  many  inducements  to-day  to  deny  him  right. 

I  find  cause  in  the  failure  of  my  pet  project 
to  reform  the  reproductions  of  fashions  in  news- 
papers. I  desired  to  photograph  them  even  while 
realising  the  many  accomplished  pens  and  brushes 
devoted  with  skilful  art  to  the  task.  Failure  was  my 
lot,  my  efforts  being  despised  and  rejected  by  the 
majority  of  advertisers. 

However,  the  experience  was  interesting  to  me, 
for  amongst  the  many  slips  of  girls  of  no  bulging 
outlines  selected  to  sit  as  model  for  an  illustrated 
catalogue  of  underclothes  is  the  wife  of  one  of  our 
well-known  actor-managers  to-day. 

That  poor  murdered  "  Babs  "  Taylor  too  would 
good-naturedly  come  over  to  my  Bond  Street  studio 
and  pose  for  me  in  novel  millinery,  and  she  was  so 
pretty  too,  and  an  adept  at  the  rare  art  of  adjusting  a 
toque  to  exactly  the  right  angle. 

No  less  generous  again  was  Miss  Kelly,  then  of  the 
Gaiety  Theatre,  who  sat  for  me  once  in  a  kimono 
which  was  reproduced  in  colour  in  a  catalogue.  But 
coloured  or  not,  bad  or  excellent,  assisted  as  I  was  all 
gratis  by  amiable  and  beautiful  girls,  the  idea  never 
caught  on.  Trade  would  have  its  more  idealised  way, 
the  perfect  outline  which  seldom  grew  on  land  or 
flourished  at  sea,  and  the  natural  figures  were  too 
accurate  to  please  ;  the  only  exception,  persistently 


appreciative  of  the  camera  for  fashion  work,  is  The 
International  Fur  Store,  which  yet  issues  illustrations 
of  furs  photographically  stamped  to  perfection- 
surface,  texture  and  light  and  shade,  shed  by  the  lens 
upon  most  sumptuous  skins  of  all  kinds. 

The  special  sympathy  which  exists  between  me  and 
W.  L.  George  arises  I  believe  from  our  equal  affection 
for  clothes,  for  clothes  and  the  woman  I  might  say, 
since  W.  L.  George's  predilection  for  the  feminine 
has  taught  him  to  understand  her  clothes  with  an 
educated  taste  cultivated  in  France,  the  land  of  his 
birth.  In  paying  court,  the  Frenchman  never  leaves 
out  of  his  programme  the  subtle  flattery  of  his  interest 
in  the  dress  of  his  beloved.  The  Englishman  is 
content  to  applaud  the  success  of  the  selected,  the 
Frenchman  will  assist  personally  to  secure  it,  and  will 
subsequently  supply  the  righteous  posy  to  grace 
becomingly  both  gown  and  girl. 

W.  L.  George  is  the  ideal  husband  who  has  never 
been  known  to  turn  a  deaf  ear,  a  blind  eye,  or  an  empty 
purse  upon  the  possible  truth  of  the  cry,  "  I  want  a 
new  hat."  It  is  unimaginable  that  he  should  ever 
answer  as  other  husbands  might,  "  What's  the  matter 
with  the  one  you're  wearing  ?  ':  Rather  I  can  picture 
him  leaving  his  house  stealthily  at  once  and  alone  to 
proceed  down  Regent  Street,  or  to  Hanover  Street,  or 
towards  some  private  atelier — he  is  well  acquainted 
with  them  all — to  bring  the  desirable  to  the  desiring, 
while  he  defies  her  not  to  like  it.  His  instinct  may  be 
well  trusted  to  that  extent ;  or  even  as  far  as  the  com- 
plete trousseau  his  judgment  would  be  right  for  the 
special  aim  of  his  beneficence,  his  choice  inclining 
towards  the  bizarre  which  shall  be  remarkable  and 

ABOUT  W.  L.  GEORGE  169 

remarked.  I  dare  to  assert  this  desire  to  produce  the 
remarkable  and  the  remarked  has  an  influence  alike 
upon  W.  L.  George's  politics,  his  misapplied  patriotism 
and  his  diatribes  against  present-day  drama. 

He  marshals  his  notions  deliberately  and  with  such 
statistics  to  prove  them  justifiable  that  we  must  needs  sit 
to  attention.  "  Too  many  babies  and  too  many  books  " 
can  sum  up  his  attitude  towards  the  obtaining  con- 
ditions in  economics  and  education.  But  W.  L.  George 
and  I  were  not  bent  on  discussing  either  of  these, 
when  I  first  saw  him  inclining  affectionately  towards 
courtship  on  a  steam  launch  on  the  river,  with  a  hostess 
blatantly  concerned  about  the  effect  of  his  advances  on 
an  unendowed  relation  who  had  been  marked  "  for 
money  only  "  in  the  marriage  market. 

I  have  never  understood  the  foundation  for  the 
romantic  success  of  W.  L.  George,  but  none  can  refuse 
to  admit  its  existence.  Women  become  devoted  to  him, 
and  would  go  to  any  lengths  to  promote  his  welfare 
abroad  and  his  comfort  at  home.  Mayhap  his  twinkling 
steel  eyes  combine  with  the  expert  methods  due  to 
long  practice  to  bring  the  reward  due  to  patience,  but 
since  I  like  W.  L.  George  very  much  and  gratify 
most  gladly  his  taste  for  the  best  plum  cake  when- 
ever he  offers  to  come  to  tea  with  me,  I  try  to  believe 
his  ugly  confessions  via  Ursula  Trent  are  founded 
on  figments  of  his  brain  and  not  on  facts  of  his 

*  Why  do  you  write  such  books  as  your  Bed  of 
Roses  and  Ursula  Trent?"  I  asked  him  one  day,  and 
he  replied  at  great  length,  as  he  will  when  encouraged. 

And  was  he  not  then  in  training  for  a  lecture  tour 
in  America  ? 


'  I  write  them  because  I  hope  they  interpret  life  as 
it  is,  beautiful  life,  hideous  life,  just  life.  If  a  writer 
has  any  claim  to  be  called  an  artist  he  must  be  the 
showman  of  life  :  he  must  hold  up  the  mirror  to  life. 
It  is  not  his  business  to  amend  the  reflection  which 
appears  in  his  mirror.  Saints  or  harlots,  scenes  in  the 
bower  of  Amaryllis,  or  under  the  gallows,  it's  all  the 
same  to  him.  I  do  not  care  whether  my  words  hurry 
young  women  '  along  the  road  to  ruin  '  or  '  arouse 
them  to  better  things . '  Where  the  young  women  spend 
eternity  is  their  affair,  not  mine.  My  affair  is  to  tell 
the  truth." 

"All  right, "  I  acquiesced — it  is  really  hopeless  to 
argue  with  W.  L.  George — "  perhaps  there  is  some 
excuse  for  your  intimate  revelations,  but  will  you  mind 
if  I  mention  I  prefer  you  '  Making  an  Englishman  ' 
than  you  when  unmasking  a  courtesan  ?  I  admire  you 
so  keenly  in  your  '  Second  Blooming '  that  I  wait  with 
impatience  for  your  third,  which  shall  explain  you  as 
the  good,  the  courageous,  tender-hearted  fellow  you 
really  are." 

Of  course,  like  all  good  authors,  he  wants  to  write 
for  the  stage,  and  we^  were  discussing  the  essential 
tricks  of  the  trade  at  the  Court  Theatre  one  night, 
and  after  a  performance  there  of  Twelfth  Night  I 
offered  to  introduce  him  to  James  Bernard  Pagan. 

Congratulations  were  resounding  on  all  sides,  and 
they  were  genuine,  which  is  not  the  adjective  invariably 
appropriate  to  felicitations  rendered  under  such  con- 

I  should  say  that  behind  the  scenes  had  echoed  more 
eliberate  lies  than  even  the  House  of  Commons  on 


To  face  page  170 


Budget  day,  the  counters  at  Strand  bars,  or  the  walls 
of  the  boudoir  of  my  lady,  in  full  confidence  with  her 
dearest  friend. 

After  all,  how  can  you,  knowing  all  the  trouble  and 
the  anxiety  which  go  to  theatrical  performance,  de- 
liberately visit  the  promoter  to  mention  the  faults  he 
had  so  laboriously  committed  ? 

Nothing  of  this,  however,  went  to  that  special 
meeting  with  James  Fagan.  Twelfth  Night  was  a 
consummate  success,  and  then,  as  now,  I  am  con- 
vinced that  should  the  National  State- Aided  Theatre 
ever  have  birth,  which  it  will  not,  the  ideal  leader 
endowed  by  nature,  art,  personality  and  industry — my 
word,  what  eulogy,  almost  gush  ! — is  James  Fagan. 
Ecce  Homo,  albeit  irreverent,  is  all-righteous. 

I  take  James  Pagan's  work  for  granted,  arid  dwell 
awhile  upon  his  simple  attraction  intellectual  and  phy- 
sical, inclusive  of  his  softly  tucked  evening  shirt-front 
and  his  gold-lighted  Carpentier  coiffure,  and  knowing 
him  a  rabid  Irishman,  I  recognise  that  a  nice  dash  of 
flattery  goes  to  enhance  his  intimacy.  I  like  him  to 
come  and  sit  beside  me  and  talk  to  me  of  finance, 
while  we  confess  to  each  other  that  the  book  we  most 
detest  is  a  fully  made  up  bank-book,  and  that  we  regard 
good  acting  and  playhouses  with  literary  ambition  as 
amongst  the  things  worth  striving  for. 

His  beautiful  wife  sings  like  an  angel  and  acts  with  a 
sense  of  true  comedy,  which  almost  vitalised  Heart- 
break House.  She  suffers  sadly  the  outrageous  accu- 
sation of  being  a  self-appointed  leading  lady,  which 
she  most  certainly  is  not.  Yet  she  bears  the  slander 
amiably,  whilst  deeply  conscious  that  "  Jim  "  is  the 
faithful  culprit.  She  is  a  confirmed  entertainer 


within  her  spacious  marble-floored  music-room  so 
surprisingly  tacked  on  to  her  seventeenth-century 
house  in  Chelsea,  where  the  tapestry  arras  hangs  as 
appropriate  introduction  to  the  fine  old  carved  staircase 
and  some  bountiful  banquets  of  my  greedy  memory. 

James  Fagan  and  I  were  discussing  the  future  of 
theatres  with  an  optimism  essential  to  their  existence 
at  all  when  he  told  me  a  characteristic  tale  of  Tree. 

"  Many  years  ago,  having  just  returned  from  a  two 
years'  sojourn  in  Italy,  I  met  Tree  outside  His  Majesty's 
Theatre.  I  told  him  I  thought  of  taking  up  acting  again 
and  suggested  I  should  play  Cassio  in  a  revival  of 
Othello  which  he  was  then  contemplating.  He  looked 
very  interested,  and  replied,  '  Yes,  yes,  I  should  like 
to  talk  to  you  about  that.  Come  and  drive  with  me.' 

"  We  got  into  a  hansom,  drove  to  an  address  in  May- 
fair,  and  on  the  way  I  strove  to  improve  the  occasion, 
but  Tree  would  talk  of  nothing  but  himself  as 
Othello,  and  I  could  not  get  a  word  in  edgeways.  When 
we  got  out,  Tree  paid  the  driver  too  much,  and  as  I 
drew  breath  for  a  final  effort,  he  placed  two  limp 
fingers  affectionately  below  my  collar  and  murmured  : 

"  '  What  a  beautiful  tie  ! '  then  bounded  up  the  steps 
and  disappeared." 



this  man  Wells,"  said  the  charwoman, 
who  was  assisting  to  put  my  shelves  in 
order.  "  Whatever  did  he  want  to  write 
so  many  books  for  ?  " 

Thus  may  a  genius  be  blamed  by  a  slut,  but  there  is 
great  preponderance  of  Wells  amongst  my  cherished 
volumes,  which  include  nearly  all  he  has  written,  many 
of  these  being  inscribed  with  absurd  drawings  and 
inappropriate  testimonials  to  our  mutual  affection, 
which  seems  to  grow  by  what  it  does  not  feed  on,  being 
the  more  emphatically  expressed  when  we  do  not  meet. 

These  times  I  do  not  often  see  Wells  in  propria 
persona  if  he  has  one.  His  is  a  programme  of  here 
to-day  and  gone  to-morrow  over  diverse  countries  and 
continents,  for  he  is  liable  to  be  called  upon  to  re- 
adjust the  affairs  of  Russia  whilst  he  waits  there  for  a 
week,  and  to  settle  the  international  policies  of  Wash- 
ington after  dispelling  the  fogs  in  the  English  and 
Irish  Channels. 

The  poor  overworked  fellow  is  all  the  time  most 
obviously  anxious  to  write  novels  peacefully  at  home 
where  dwell  his  incomparable  helpmate  and  two  sons  to 
prove  that  his  educational  theories  are  sound  working 

My  first  meeting  with  Wells  was  many,  many  years 



ago,  when  a  little  world  was  daring  to  blame  him  for 
his  too  frank  revelations  in  Ann  Veronica,  and  I  had 
felt  very  sympathetic  towards  him  for  being  mis- 
understood by  those  who  never  understand  genius 
should  be  accorded  special  favour.  Genius  is  rare,  and 
when  genius,  as  in  the  case  of  H.  G.  Wells,  is  allied  to 
originality,  to  imagination,  to  industry  and  to  science, 
it  must  be  permitted  to  wander  a  little  down  the  by- 
paths of  its  choice,  while  it  should  be  sheltered  from 
the  vulgar  slanders  uttered  by  the  Peeping  Toms,  who 
see  the  less  the  more  they  look. 

When  did  I  first  meet  Wells,  who  rapidly  became  to 
me  H.  G.,  as  so  many  who  don't  know  him  persistently 
refer  to  him  ?  It  was  at  the  house  of  one  of  the 
Wertheimers,  made  famous  by  the  illuminating  art  of 
J.  S.  Sargent,  whose  pictures  of  a  large  family  of  them 
adorn  their  dining-room  laughingly  called  "  the  Sar- 
gents'  Mess."  Anyway  I  approached  him  familiarly 
enough,  being  so  well  read  in  him  I  felt  he  was  an  old 
acquaintance,  and  we  were  waiting  together  for  our 
dear  missing  hostess,  whose  preferred  practice  was 

Wells  was  standing  on  the  rug,  his  legs  apart,  his 
hands  restless,  his  glance  alert. 

"  I  know  you  are  Wells,  and  I  am  very  glad  to  meet 

He  asked  my  name,  to  confess  frankly  he  had  never 
heard  it,  when  I  boldly  ventured  : 

"  Don't  mind  about  me  ;  talk  about  yourself.  Tell 
me  of  your  next  book." 

Wells'  ultra-blue  eyes  glared  at  me. 

"  I  would  as  soon  take  off  my  clothes,"  was  an 
astonishing  answer  to  herald  friendship. 

ABOUT  H.  G.  WELLS  &  OTHERS       175 

I  went  one  day  to  hear  Wells  lecture  at  some  club 
or  another  in  Oxford  Street,  the  subject  being  "  The 
first  duty  of  a  writer/'  which  he  held  to  be  the  impres- 
sion of  your  times  upon  your  books,  the  stamp  of 
contemporary  life  upon  all  your  pages.  He  has  wan- 
dered far  since  then,  any  dutiful  limitations  being  dis- 
regarded in  the  Outline  of  History  which  has  come 
into  its  stupendous  existence. 

After  the  lecture  at  tea-time  it  was  amusing  to  hear 
Wells  tell  that  he  had  been  stopped  on  his  passage-way 
by  a  clergyman,  who  assailed  him,  "  I  have  enjoyed 
very  much  hearing  you  speak,  Mr.  Wells,  and  I  have 
wanted  for  a  long  time  to  meet  you,  but  in  spite  of 
what  you  have  said  just  now  I  cannot  find  any  justifi- 
cation for  your  book  The  Yoke" 

The  dear  old  gentleman  had  mixed  up  H.  Wales 
with  H.  G.  Wells,  and  the  contention  of  the  former  had 
been  that  he  might  claim  as  a  legitimate  subject  for 
public  reading  the  love  of  a  mother,  so  protectively 
overwhelming  that  it  had  urged  her  to  the  sacrifice 
of  herself  rather  than  her  son  should  brave  the 
consequences  of  the  more  casual  temptation. 

H.  G.  was  horrified  to  be  thus  confounded,  but  was 
persuaded  to  see  the  fun  of  it.  You  can  generally 
persuade  him  to  see  the  fun  of  anything,  that  is  what 
is  so  jolly  about  him,  always  genial,  ready  to  please 
and  be  pleased,  never  self-important.  It  is  impossible 
to  feel  as  stupid  in  his  company  as  you  know  yourself 
out  of  it.  He  is  more  stimulating  than  the  best  tonic 
ever  concocted  in  the  best  laboratory,  while  Coue*  with 
his  gospels  is  a  mere  fool  to  him  as  restorative  ;  even 
the  least  acute  may  well  count  him  possessed  of  twin 
pituitary  glands. 


A  concluding  virtue  to  add  to  his  catalogue  is  his 
prompt  reply  to  letters,  and  even  whilst  he  was  in 
America,  where  I  sent  him  congratulatory  word  upon 
his  dignified  exit  from  the  trammels  of  super  editing 
while  I  finished  my  letter  with,  "  Would  you  not  like 
to  write  the  preface  to  my  book  ?  "  he  replied  by 
return  of  mail  and  all  characteristically,  "  No  prefaces, 
darling,  beauty  unadorned  is  adorned  the  most. 
Love,  H.  G." 

That  is  the  best  of  Wells,  he  will  write  such  com- 
promising notes.  I  take  a  sheaf  of  his  cards  from  a 
bundle,  hoping  to  find  one  at  least  which  will  not  give 
away  the  unquestionable  fact  of  our  mutual  devotion. 
Each  resembles  the  other. 

"  Beloved,  I  am  working  and  working  like  God, 
but  I  shall  see  you  soon.  H.  G." 

"  Dearly  beloved,  just  back  from  Russia,  and  I  must 
sleep  for  a  week.  My  car  stands  outside  this  afternoon 
at  six  all  saddled  and  bridled.  You  have  my  heart, 
and  I  am  all  yours.  H.  G." 

Both  these  communications  have  I  am  sure  been 
posted  by  his  wife  called  Jane,  because  her  name  is 
Catherine,  who  is  one  of  the  dearest  little  women,  and 
so  clever  in  her  wide  knowledge  of  her  husband,  and 
certainly  very  pretty,  with  a  nice  taste  in  clothes ;  and 
happily  regarding  me  as  I  am,  amongst  the  most 
devoted  of  H.  G.'s  many  admirers,  without  the  least 
inclination  to  play  with  him  the  deplorable  antics  of  a 
grey  kitten. 

I  seem  to  be  in  a  bad  way,  for  I  find  so  much  excuse 
to  like  my  friends.  Then  after  all,  perhaps  I  should 

H.    G.   WELLS 

To  face  page  176 

ABOUT  H.  G.  WELLS  &  OTHERS       177 

not  have  selected  them  had  I  not  found  some  induce- 
ment. Dozens  of  them  crowd  upon  my  mind,  each 
possessed  of  some  quality  or  another,  so  that  I  am 
driven  to  quote  from  Bolingbroke  in  Richard  II,  "  I 
count  myself  in  nothing  else  so  happy  as  in  a  soul 
remembering  my  good  friends. "  I  don't  believe 
I  am  deserving  of  the  verdict,  "  She  has  not  an 
enemy  in  the  world,  but  her  friends  don't  like  her," 
I  am  sure  they  do,  but  perhaps  they  won't  after  this 
book  is  published.  Hope  and  despair  are  in  the 
thought,  and  since  I  am  a  confirmed  Londoner  I  fear 
that  they  may  come  along  and  break  my  windows  with 
my  heart  by  stones  to  testify  to  their  disapproval. 

A  constant  absentee  who  contrives  to  retain  the 
affection  nevertheless  or  because,  is  Constance  Collier, 
who  has  a  well-developed  talent  for  friendship,  and 
not  even  her  many  years'  absence  in  America  and  her 
prolonged  wanderings  in  the  provinces  of  England 
succeed  in  obliterating  her  from  the  mind.  All  hail 
and  welcome  seem  to  be  attached  to  her.  Everyone  is 
always  glad  to  see  her.  She  never  loses  her  place  in 
our  affection,  although  her  presence  is  so  deliberately 
intermittent  we  feel  glad  of  it.  It  is  a  very  handsome 
presence  too  which  may  account  in  a  measure  for  our 
joy  at  its  approach,  and  I  was  looking  at  her  recently 
while  she  was  stretched  upon  my  sofa  resting  between 
two  performances,  and  I  was  wondering  whence  had 
come  the  general  impression  that  she  is  a  Jewess. 

1  You  haven't  really  any  Jewish  blood  in  your  veins 
at  all,  have  you,  Connie  ?  "  and  she  assured  me  none, 
whilst  declaring  that  she  should  have  had  some 
gratification  in  being  found  guilty. 

"  Why  not,  indeed,  when  Sarah  Bernhardt,  Rachael, 


Lily  Hanbury  and  Julia  Neilson  have  encouraged  me 
to  think  that  Jewish  blood  is  no  detriment  to  trium- 
phant success  in  the  art  of  acting  ?  " 

'  What  is  the  favourite  part  you  have  ever  played  ?  " 
I  fell  irresistibly  into  the  interviewer's  attitude. 

"  Peter  Ibbetson.  For  years  and  years  I  dreamt  of 
it  and  wanted  to  play  it,  and  chafed  at  my  inability 
until  at  His  Majesty's  Theatre  I  got  the  chance  at  that 
Ail-Star  Matinee  which  you  should  recollect,  if  you 
don't,  included  Clara  Butt's  first  appearance  on  the 
legitimate  stage  and  Lilian  Braithwaite  with  Owen 
Nares  to  complete  a  cast  quite  remarkable." 

"  Are  you  serious  in  telling  me  that  you  preferred 
this  experiment,  which  I  know  you  repeated  trium- 
phantly in  America,  to  the  classic  Shakespearean 
characters  you  played  with  Tree,  or  your  vulgar  tour 
deforce  as  Nancy  in  Oliver  Twist?  " 

!'  Confession  is  bad  for  the  body,"  laughed  Con- 
stance, "  but  it  was  always  wonderful  to  me  to  act  with 
Tree.  I  had  the  greatest  admiration  for  him,  loved 
every  fault  of  him,  and  perhaps  he  had  a  few.  The 
fairy  imaginative  side  of  him  appealed  to  me.  I  have 
known  him  do  such  fantastic  things.  Conceive  him 
with  a  manager  defaulting  from  the  till  and  fleeing  from 
justice  with  his  detectives  in  pursuit,  while  Tree  having 
ascertained  his  whereabouts  forwards  the  criminal  a 
large  cheque  so  that  he  might  escape  arrest  from 
the  police  he  had  sent  to  seize  him.  That  was 

"  Tree  was  subject,"  she  said,  with  her  eyes  in  the 
past,  "  to  moods.  I  recall  him  violently  resentful  of 
a  thief  in  office  who  had  filched  from  his  wardrobe  a 
splendid  pair  of  black  velvet  curtains  painted  with 

ABOUT  H.  G.  WELLS  &  OTHERS       179 

flames  to  surround  Ulysses  in  hell.  With  much  diffi- 
culty these  were  traced  to  a  second-hand  clothes 
dealer  in  Whitechapel  where  we  journeyed  one  Sunday 
morning  to  retrieve  them,  but,  alas  for  the  flames  of 
hell  painted  on  black  velvet !  They  had  been  sold,  and 
were  playing  the  part  of  Sabbatarian  suits  to  half  a 
dozen  little  boys  we  met  in  their  full  glory.  Tree 
admired  them  immensely  and  refused  with  anger  the 
proposition  of  their  financial  equivalent." 

My  personal  acquaintance  with  Tree  was  compara- 
tively slight,  but  I  recollect  one  special  occasion  of  his 
playing  my  host  in  the  grill-room  of  the  Carlton  at  the 
time  he  was  rehearsing  for  The  School  for  Scandal,  and 
he  brought  from  his  pocket  the  copy  from  which 
he  was  learning  his  part,  telling  me  it  had  been 
presented  to  him  by  an  old  lady,  while  he  showed  me 
annotations  in  the  margin  made  by  Kean  and  by  Irving. 
Incidentally  I  supped  with  him  admirably  well.  He 
was  always  a  most  generous  host,  would  give  me  on 
demand  the  Royal  box  at  His  Majesty's  Theatre,  and 
when  he  was  playing  Peggotty  and  Micawber  he  came 
and  sat  awhile  with  me.  Once  when  I  conveyed 
H.  G.  Wells  and  his  two  young  sons  to  witness 
Richard  //,  Tree  sent  for  us  all  to  come  behind  the 
scenes,  and  there  was  Tree  at  his  very  best  in  the 
company  of  children,  who  adored  him  naturally  and 
whom  he  understood  completely. 

At  the  house  of  Arthur  Bourchier  when  they  were 
playing  Henry  VIII,  Tree  delivered  himself  of  the  jest, 
"  I  and  Bourchier  are  Gag  and  May  gag,"  in  cheery 
acknowledgment  of  Bourchier's  grins  which  never  grew 
as  his  clothes  and  his  beard  might  have,  on  Holbein's 
presentations  of  that  polygamous  pet. 


Tree  looked  at  me  that  night  as  if  prophetically. 
"  Why  don't  you  write  a  book  ?  " 

"  Why  should  I  ?  "  I  protested  modestly. 

"  Just  to  call  it  arriere-pensees" 

But  what  a  strange  medley  of  creatures  it  has  been 
my  lot  to  encounter,  and  in  approaching  Harold  Begbie 
I  am  inclined  to  say  with  the  youngest  of  us,  "  Thank 
God  for  my  good  dinner  " — feast  almost  would  be  a 
more  appropriate  word  with  so  mixed  a  menu  to 

"  Love  is  the  bridge  between  the  two  worlds." 

When  Harold  Begbie  said  this  to  me  I  was  in  the 
depths  of  despair,  and  I  do  not  fancy  he  had  the  least 
idea  what  spiritual  comfort  his  words  brought  to  me 
then,  and  bring  me  yet. 

Whatever  part  Harold  Begbie  may  choose  to  play  in 
life,  he  is  a  born  priest,  and  he  holds  with  the  Greeks 
that  all  writing  should  be  helpful  and  creative.  I  have 
met  him  and  known  him  under  many  different  circum- 
stances, for  he  is  an  active  man  of  affairs,  but  I  never 
lose  sight  of  him  as  a  potential  saviour  of  souls.  In- 
deed his  written  and  his  spoken  lines  have  done  much 
to  justify  me  in  this  belief,  albeit  there  is  a  recreative 
side  to  him,  and  he  loves  wit.  He  has  the  knack  of 
easy  companionship,  but  I  never  know  why  he  drifted 
complacently  into  mine  for  he  is  mainly  serious.  I 
have  spent  days  with  him  down  in  his  own  home  in 
the  country,  where  a  fine  glass  window  is  a  shrine  to 
the  memory  of  a  dear  dead  daughter,  and  where  he 
dwells  often  upon  his  sad  parting  with  her,  but  with 
no  pang,  always  with  increasing  sweetness  and  the 
certainty  of  their  reunion.  I  have  sat  with  him  in  his 
study  talking  of  literature  and  of  journalism  at  which 


he  is  adept,  quickest  and  most  accurate  writer,  with 
scenery  included,  and  I  have  remonstrated  with  him 
severely  upon  his  tenets  of  comfort  without  servants 
and  his  immovable  conviction  that  domesticity  is  the 
better  part  of  women. 

Yet,  on  this  last  point,  why  should  I  seek  to  inter- 
fere ?  His  wife  is  the  happiest  of  wives,  and  his  three 
girls  are  only  too  ready  to  help  their  father,  whilst  he 
is  as  anxious  to  encourage  them  in  their  diverse  am- 
bitions. One  daughter,  with  a  ferret  in  her  left-hand 
pocket,  is  as  assured  of  his  interest  as  another  occupied 
with  composing  charming  poems,  or  a  third  with  no 
other  demand  than  his  personal  tendance  upon  her 
two  new  goats,  and  always  he  is  conscious  of  the  minis- 
trations of  their  beloved  mother. 

I  once  initiated  Harold  Begbie  into  the  delights  of 
a  dress  rehearsal  of  Peter  Ibbetson  with  luncheon  to 
follow  in  the  company  of  Constance  Collier  the  heroine, 
and  subsequently  we  all  went  out  to  supper  together. 
But  the  theatre  is  not  the  righteous  atmosphere  for 
him,  of  course  he  must  have  his  ambitions — what  living 
author  has  not  ? — to  write  a  good  play.  However,  he  is 
possessed  of  many  other  aims,  and  to  him  is  attributed 
ten  per  cent  of  the  books  published  anonymously. 

"  I  don't  believe  he  exists.  I  am  sure  he  is  a  syndi- 
cate, "  I  am  accused  when  I  talk  of  him. 

"  How  perverse  of  you,  Harold,"  I  say,  "  not  to  put 
your  name  boldly  to  your  works — '  The  M..  with  a 

D.. ,'  '  L without  S..,'  and  '  P d  W s' 

might  be  so  reasonably  allied. " 

Harold  Begbie  has  to  his  best  credit  much  literature 
in  aid  of  the  Church  Army,  the  Salvation  Army,  Dr. 
Barnardo's  Homes,  the  Ragged  School  Union,  and  at 


least  a  mile  of  print  demonstrating  his  ability  and  will 
to  achieve  what  is  possible  on  the  philanthropic  path. 
He  spares  no  personal  trouble  in  his  pursuit  of  the 
fitting  and  unfitting  subject,  and  practically  he  does 
much  which  I  know  he  would  hate  to  be  mentioned. 

He  used  to  write  regularly  for  the  daily  press  on 
industrial,  social  and  theological  questions,  and  he  has 
journeyed  from  the  North  to  the  South  of  England  to 
investigate  factories  and  the  conditions  of  working 

Many  amusing  and  topical  novels  bear  his  signature, 
and  not  a  few  of  his  poems  go  to  the  glory  of  many 
causes.  So  truly  he  may  be  acclaimed  industrious  as 
well  as  able,  and  often  I  am  vexed  that  he  should 
prefer  to  live  in  a  distant  Dorset  and  send  me  such 
unrepentant  letter  as  this  : 

;<  I  doubt  if  we  shall  visit  London  for  many  months. 
I  swore  an  oath  in  the  train  that  I  would  never  go 
another  journey,  and  truly  if  the  gods  provide  me  with 
work  enough  to  live  on  this  hill-top,  this  cliff-top,  I 
think  I  shall  never  budge  a  mile  away. 

Perhaps  you  will  come  to  Swanage,  or,  if  that  is  too 
blusterous,  to  Bournemouth,  where  the  sun  shines  and 
the  east  wind  is  verboten.  If  so,  we  will  meet  and  dis- 
cuss this  good  world. 

And  how  good  it  is,  Eliza,  when  we  possess  a  big 
deep  chair  and  shelves  all  round  us  crowded  with  books. 
I  don't  want  to  write  any  more  ;  but  write  I  must,  if 
only  to  buy  books.  I  want  to  read,  and  read  and  read, 
sometimes  going  out  to  look  at  the  sea,  and  sometimes 
looking  up  to  choose  the  star  I  wish  to  inhabit  when  I 
quit  this  pretty  planet.  There  is  this  great  consolation 


in  age,  it  teaches  us  how  simple  are  the  things  that 
really  minister  to  profound  happiness.  I  could  write 
an  ode  to  a  Porcelain  bath  and  a  lyric  to  a  glass  of 
Chateau  Leoville  Barton. 

God  rest  you  merry.  We  all  send  affectionate  good 
wishes.  H.B." 

I  am  tempted  to  wish  he  would  diverge  from  his  too 
conscientious  courses.  I  should  like  to  find  him  exe- 
cuting a  mild  fox  trot  on  the  roof  of  the  Criterion ;  and, 
by  the  way,  I  wonder  how  he  could  bear  the  accurate 
information  that  professional  dancing  has  been  a  chosen 
vocation  of  one  gifted,  handsome  grandson  of  General 
Booth.  The  best-laid  ancestral  schemes  have  surely 
here  gone  sadly  astray. 

I  cannot  find  anything  more  true  to  say  of  Sir  Gerald 
du  Maurier  than  that  Irving  would  have  been  proud  of 
him.  As  an  actor  who  is  a  gentleman,  who  works 
honourably  and  "industriously  for  (his  calling,  who 
sports  steadfastly  for  the  good  of  his  golf  average,  and 
works  assiduously  for  the  advantage  of  his  art,  there  is 
none  other  to  excel  him,  and  he  confutes  every  accu- 
sation of  the  carelessness  of  the  theatrical  manager  by 
replying  at  once  to  the  receipt  of  any  manuscript  or  any 
letter  of  demand  which  may  reach  him. 

He  never  boasts  of  the  fact  nor  of  any  other  but  of 
his  beautiful  children.  He  does  not  often  drive  his 
motors  to  destruction,  and  he  is  an  indefatigable 
chauffeur,  and  he  bears  calmly  with  a  daughter  on  each 
knee,  another  at  the  side  of  him,  and  a  wife  whom  he 
continues  to  admire,  the  many  feminine  advances 
towards  his  sentimental  attention. 

What  an  Admirable  Crichton  in  which  play  now  I 


come  to  think  of  it  he  first  met  his  wife,  Muriel 
Beaumont,  who  still  retains  by  some  unrevealed  secret, 
but  I  suspect  just  happiness,  the  bright  look  of  her 

"  If  I  belong  anywhere,"  said  Gerald  to  me  one  day 
while  we  were  lunching  together  previous  to  a  matinee 
in  Leicester  Square,  "  it  is  to  Hampstead,  where  my 
father  lived  and  worked. "  He  has  a  deep-seated 
reverence  for  his  famous  father,  George  du  Maurier, 
and  much  devotion  indeed  for  all  his  family. 

Anyone  would  want  to  belong  to  the  house  in  Hamp- 
stead which  Gerald  now  occupies,  dated  eighteenth 
century,  and  skilfully  persuaded  to  look  it,  with  its 
stone-paved  courtyard,  wide  hall  and  broad  carved 
staircase,  and  small-paned  windows  looking  out  upon 
smooth  lawns. 

But  to  me  Gerald's  supremest  virtue — and  again  I 
transgress  by  mentioning  he  has  any — is  my  know- 
ledge that  he  will  never  play  Hamlet. 

He  is  our  king  of  comedy  acting,  legitimate  successor 
to  Wyndham,  contemporary  hero  with  Hawtrey,  and 
unless  he  is  tempted  into  some  further  crimes  like 
Raffles,  he  threatens  to  remain  a  merry  monarch  for 
all  to  survey. 

But  little  vanity  goes  to  him,  and  he  told  me  an 
amusing  anecdote  which  proves  it. 

"  After  I  had  been  ten  years  at  Wyndham 's  as  actor- 
manager,  with  my  rather  long  name  emblazoned  across 
the  front  of  the  theatre,  one  day  when  we  were  rehears- 
ing Dear  Brutus  I  suddenly  remembered  that  I  wanted 
to  rehearse  with  a  pipe.  There  was  nobody  about,  so 
I  ran  out  myself  to  a  tobacconist's  immediately  oppo- 
site the  front  of  the  theatre. 


"  The  owner  of  the  shop  was  very  polite,  and  chose 
a  very  nice  pipe  for  me  (being  a  cigarette  smoker  I  put 
myself  in  his  hands),  and  feeling  in  my  pocket  for  the 
money  to  pay  for  it,  I  found  I  had  literally  not  a  penny. 
I  said  would  he  mind  if  I  sent  the  money  across.  He 
said,  *  Where  from?'  I  said,  *  The  theatre.'  He 
queried,  '  What  theatre  ?  '  *  Wyndham's,'  I  replied. 
He  looked  doubtfully  at  me  for  a  moment  and  asked, 
'  What's  your  name  ? '  I  told  him.  He  thought  for  a 
minute  and  said, '  Well,  it  is  a  new  one  to  me.'  So  I 
agreed,  '  Oh,  very  well,'  and  I  went  across  and  got  the 
money  from  the  Box  Office  and  came  back  with  the 

"  I  told  the  stage-manager  about  it,  remarking,  *  It  is 
extraordinary  how  unobservant  people  are,  that  shop 
has  been  there  ever  since  I  have  been  at  this  theatre.' 
He  said  with  rather  a  sly  smile,  *  What's  the  name  of 
it  ? '  I  replied,  '  I  don't  know.'  " 



I  CONFESS  to  the  convention  of  being  at  home 
on  Sunday  afternoons  where  the  circle  ever 
widens,  and  I  hasten  to  mention  that  I  have  no 
desire  to  deserve  that  it  should  be  said  of  me,  "  She 
thought  she  had  founded  a  salon,  but  she  had  really 
opened  a  teashop." 

But  I  can  proclaim  as  fact  that  no  Sunday  is  con- 
sidered complete  unless  four  o'clock  finds  W.  L. 
Courtney  ensconced  in  the  corner  of  the  sofa. 

I  believe  that  half  of  my  visitors  come  on  purpose 
to  meet  him  ;  I  have  noticed  that  not  a  few  will  watch 
the  door  until  his  arrival  in  the  room  which,  however, 
takes  place  some  moments  after  his  knock  at  the  door 
because  he  will  stop  upon  the  stairs  to  say  amiable 
words  to  my  handsome  housekeeper,  Mrs.  King,  who 
should  be  written  down  "  superior,"  for  she  owned  as 
grandfather  a  founder  of  one  of  the  great  soap  factories ; 
but  perhaps  she  is  more  important  to  us  for  her  skill 
at  frying  fish  in  oil  according  to  the  Jewish  fashion. 

I  cannot  remember  where  and  when  I  first  met 
W.  L.  Courtney,  but  I  suspect  that  it  was  at  a  theatre, 
for  I  am  an  irreclaimable  playgoer,  and  for  years  he 
was  dramatic  critic  to  the  Daily  Telegraph. 

Many  a  long — a  very  long — evening  I  have  spent  in 


ABOUT  W.  L.  COURTNEY  &  G.  MOORE    187 

some  seat  near  to  his,  and  many  a  short — a  too  short — 
morning  later  we  have  passed  on  the  Thames,  which 
is  a  favourite  haunt  for  us  both.  Sculling  was  amongst 
his  athletic  activities,  though  he  would  as  disdainfully 
regard  my  comment  on  his  prowess  as  he  would  my 
frivolous  observation  on  the  becomingness  of  his 
brass-buttoned  blue  coat  and  his  faded  pink  Leander 

Here  recently  our  riparian  inclination  found  us  at 
ease  on  cushioned  chairs  in  pompous  possession  of  a 
launch  at  Bourne  End,  where  R.  C.  Lehmann,  Oxford 
oarsman  and  celebrated  coach  at  Oxford  and  Cambridge 
and  of  University  crews  at  Dublin,  Berlin  and  Har- 
vard, lives  with  a  gracious  wife,  daughters  and  a  young 
son  threatening  to  follow  his  father's  footsteps  on  the 
towing  path  to  triumph  on  the  waterways.  During 
tea  with  them  in  the  shelter  of  the  wide  window  which 
looks  upon  the  flower-girdled  lawns,  the  girls  told  of 
their  content  at  Girton,  and  Mr.  Courtney,  all  uncon- 
sciously assuming  the  gown  of  the  Don,  showed 
considerable  interest  on  the  classical  side  and  some 
concern  for  feminine  intrusion  with  the  oar,  while 
shuddering  at  the  idea  of  women  in  shorts. 

W.  L.  Courtney  has  always  been  as  much  interested 
in  sport  as  in  the  theatre,  and  both  were  early  loves. 
It  was  due  to  his  intervention  that  Jowett  consented 
to  allow  dramatic  performances  at  Oxford  with  the 
wives  and  daughters  of  the  citizens  appearing  in  the 
plays.  Here  with  Arthur  Bourchier  he  took  his  share 
in  establishing  the  O.U.D.S.,  an  institution  still  flour- 
ishing, and  the  archives  chronicle  that  W.  L.  Courtney 
played  Bassanio  to  Bourchier's  Shylock. 

He  and  I  share  many  tastes  and  possess  many  mutual 


friends.  Proudly  I  stood  godmother  to  his  delightful 
book,  In  Search  of  Egeria,  and  we  both  count  Norfolk 
happy  hunting  ground  in  holiday  time.  When  I  was 
there,  a  mere  idler,  he  would  go  with  his  daughter  for 
that  uninterrupted  morning  of  work  which  the  writer 
is  ever  seeking  and  seldom  securing.  In  the  afternoons, 
should  the  good  golf  of  his  desire  prove  unattainable, 
we  would  walk  at  West  Runton,  or  in  Sheringham  Park, 
where  once  we  stayed  our  footsteps  under  a  great  tree, 
facing  burly  bushes  of  rhododendrons  in  red,  pink  and 
purple  profusion,  and  he  read  aloud  his  one-act  play, 
The  Webs  of  Penelope,  destined  for  Marion  Terry. 

His  busy  pen  cannot  resist  always  the  lure  of  the 
stage,  and  to  his  credit  stand  Kit  Marlowe  and  Mark- 
heim,  adapted  from  R.  L.  Stevenson  for  H.  B.  Irving. 
For  him  Lilian  Braithwaite  pleaded  On  the  Side  of  the 
Angels,  and  Mrs.  Patrick  Campbell  gave  her  efforts  to 
Undine  in  London  and  the  provinces. 

W.  L.  Courtney  prevails  here  on  Sundays  when 
there  is  competition  with  maid  and  matron  for  the 
pleasure  of  giving  him  his  tea,  although  he  protests 
lazily  he  can  get  it  himself,  knowing  well  such  conduct 
would  never  be  permitted. 

In  our  argumentative  moments — we  are  prone  to 
these  even  though  they  be  buttered  as  thickly  as  the 
crumpets — he  displays  a  gentle  tolerance  for  all  pro- 
pounded views,  and  no  better  chairman  for  a  peace 
conference  could  be  imagined  than  "  Bill/'  as  we  most 
of  us  dare  to  call  him  with  an  impertinence  we  recognise 
when  Lady  Tree  comes  in  to  greet  him,  "  Professor, 
I  am  so  glad  to  see  you/'  the  address  being  well  sanc- 
tified in  capital  letters.  I  regret  I  do  not  more  often 
see  Lady  Tree.  She  is  responsible  for  many  of  the 

ABOUT  W.  L.  COURTNEY  &  G.  MOORE    189 

best  jests  ;  did  she  not  announce  when  Sir  Herbert 
engaged  that  distinguished  pair  Ellen  Terry  and  Mrs. 
Kendal  to  play  The  Merry  Wives  of  Windsor,  "  Herbert 
is  preserving  ancient  lights." 

Did  she  not  sum  up  existence,  "  Nothing  comes  off 
in  life  except  buttons,"  but  I  must  not  omit  to  mention 
that  I  am  really  very  jealous  of  her,  because  she  writes 
the  most  admirable  articles  upon  dress,  and  she  is 
quite  capable  of  materialising  her  statement,  "  Give 
me  a  dozen  yards  of  white  crepe  de  Chine  and  I  will 
guarantee  to  make  a  gown  which  shall  express  any 

She  is  a  most  clever  woman,  and  her  interpolations 
while  she  was  acting  in  Diplomacy  did  something  for 
the  reputation  of  Sardou  as  a  humorist. 

It  was  said  of  W.  L.  Courtney  up  at  Oxford  that 
although  he  was  a  Don  with  due  attribute  of  detached 
dignity  he  was  for  ever  an  undergraduate  at  heart. 
Strong  characteristics  do  not  disappear,  they  develope, 
he  remains  an  undergraduate  at  heart,  and  in  any 
company  where  he  may  be — he  inclines  towards  the 
ladies — you  will  find  the  youngest  clustering  around 
him,  and  it  must  be  admitted  that  he  talks  to  them  with 
more  obvious  pleasure  than  he  will  to  his  contempor- 
aries, even  though  these  should  tempt  his  memories 
by  allusion  to  his  splendid  waltzing  in  his  prime. 

At  the  Royal  and  Literary  Societies,  where  he  holds 
potential  position,  Mr.  Courtney  lectures  regularly 
upon  many  subjects  from  Euripides  to  Pinero,  and  he 
contrives  somehow  to  engage  attention  from  an  audi- 
ence, however  uninstructed. 

As  a  critic  W.  L.  Courtney  has  the  rare  gift  of  not 
only  realising  what  the  author  accomplishes,  but  what 


it  had  been  his  intention  to  accomplish.  His  know- 
ledge is  based  on  the  classics  which  are  in  him,  and  he 
is  an  encyclopaedia  of  information  ;  a  man  of  learning 
and  of  teaching,  and  above  all  enchantingly  human 
and  everlastingly  young,  turning  more  gladly  now  to 
the  lighter  side  of  things,  and  admitting  that  beauty 
makes  irresistible  appeal  to  him.  Nobody  is  a  more 
gracious  guest,  and  considering  his  intellectual  equip- 
ment his  adaptability  to  every  sort  of  individual  is 

Under  his  encouragement  I  have  contributed  to 
The  Fortnightly  Review,  and  joined  a  symposium  on 
the  New  Woman  invited  by  the  Daily  Telegraph. 

Further  I  venture. 

"  Dare  I  write  about  you,  the  real  you,  in  my  book  ?  " 
and  with  a  shrug  of  submission  to  the  inevitable  he 
replies,  "  I  suppose  I  must  bear  it." 

It  is  difficult  to  do  justice  to  him,  for  he  is  a  man  of 
many  sides,  and  whilst  he  is  ever  the  courtly  urbane 
gentleman  with  a  touch  of  Colonel  Newcome  about  him 
and  never  free  from  the  old  academic  traditions,  he  is 
persistently  alert  for  to-morrow.  He  is  of  an  unfalter- 
ing faith,  and  his  intimacy  with  the  Scriptures  to  which 
The  Literary  Man's  Bible  testifies  is  as  profound  as  his 
respect  for  them  ;  his  appreciation  of  the  supreme 
beauty  of  the  writing  in  Isaiah  and  the  Song  of 
Solomon  never  swerves,  and  his  most  consoling 
philosophy  preaches  : 

"  Life  is  a  shedding  of  leaves, "  an  axiom  which 
happily  has  as  yet  no  significance  for  that  merry  being 
Mary  Fulton,  who  is  a  frequent  intruder  near  by 
W.  L.'s  seat  upon  the  sofa  here. 

Head  of  copper,  heart  of  gold,  intellect  of  steel,  but 

W.   L.    COURTNEY,    M.A.,    LL.D. 

To  face  page    190 

ABOUT  W.  L.  COURTNEY  &  OTHERS    191 

nothing  else  metallic  goes  to  the  author  of  Blight  and 
The  Plough,  a  soft  resilient  creature  who  should  be 
ashamed  of  her  persisting  idleness,  for  she  has  un- 
doubted ability  to  enter  permanently  into  the  field  of 
fiction,  yet  bides  her  time  slothfully,  even  while  St. 
John  Ervine  is  here  to  assure  us  that  of  all  literary 
expression  the  novel  is  most  meet  for  the  lazy. 

"  Everybody  writes,  why  must  I  ?  "  says  Mary- 
Fulton  when  I  try  to  stem  the  flood  of  her  frivolity, 
of  her  wander  lust  and  her  athletic  proclivities.  Per- 
haps she  has  reason  in  her  opinion  that  youth  must 
not  be  baulked,  and  she  is  as  adorably  youthful  as  she  is 
persuasively  pretty,  while  at  least  she  is  a  hard  reader, 
but  she  is  sure  that  Robinson  Crusoe  was  a  greater 
hero  than  Hannibal,  and  is  best  persuaded  of  the  charm 
of  continental  literature  with  Anatole  France  to  the 

"  Are  you  mystic  ?  "  says  the  imaginative  man  as  he 
looks  into  her  mischievous  eyes  as  men  will,  and  she 
illustrates  Rudyard  Kipling's  theory  that "  the  female  of 
the  species  is  more  deadly  than  the  male  "  ;  but  of  course 
she  is  not  mystic,  although  her  Irish  blood  jumps 
gladly  to  the  idea.  She  is  really  a  most  material  little 
person,  with  an  infinite  capacity  for  enjoyment,  served 
with  surplus  cash.  She  is  glad  to  be  alive  at  twenty- 
six  with  every  conceivable  advantage  to  her  name, 
with  the  husband  of  her  early  choice  and  a  dear  child 
to  adore.  She  is  a  joyous  circumstance,  and  her  nice 
red  head  pokes  into  my  room  once  a  day,  for  she  lives 
next  door,  and  since  she  is  a  practising  pianist  I  am 
delighted  to  welcome  her  absence  from  home.  Sheer 
joy  goes  to  her  while  she  is  relating  with  native  wit 
tales  of  her  adventures,  real  and  fictitious,  now  and 


again  inadvertently  confessing  to  her  charity  and  prac- 
tical pity  for  the  weakness  of  others  less  fortunate  than 
herself.  She  will  write  yet,  and  well,  the  doom  is 
upon  her,  but  now  she  shares  with  me  an  incorrigibly 
flippant  outlook  upon  grave  subjects. 

I  like  to  cast  myself  as  the  clown,  however  serious 
may  be  my  company,  and  although  George  Moore 
exercises  great  influence  upon  me  he  has  never  been 
able  to  persuade  me  that  the  jest  is  not  the  highest 
form  of  mental  exercise.  On  Sundays  in  my  room  no 
one  watches  the  door  more  anxiously  for  W.  L.  Court- 
ney than  does  George  Moore,  who  is  possessed  of  ad- 
miration not  alone  for  his  skill  as  critic  and  editor,  but 
for  his  value  as  universal  provider  of  agreeable  con- 

It  is  easy  to  suspect  the  impatience  of  George  Moore 
at  W.  L.  Courtney's  great  inclination  towards  triviali- 
ties rather  than  towards  earnest  argument  about 

George  Moore  stands  always  for  literature,  he  is 
not  deeply  concerned  with  anything  else,  and  it  is  cer- 
tain that  personalities  and  politics  are  alike  amongst 
his  indifferences.  On  pictures  he  has  excuse  to  be 
didactic,  for  he  knows  much  about  them,  and  has  de- 
clared "  painting  to  be  the  most  indiscreet  of  all  the 
arts."  Yet  he  decided  that  Mona  Lisa  came  into  her 
possession  of  eternal  life  through  the  immortality  of 
Pater's  prose. 

He  is  sensitive  to  music,  and  in  the  full  flight  of  his 
enthusiasm  dogmatised  "  to  hear  Wagner  one  must 
hear  him  where  he  chooses  to  be  heard,  one  has  to 
leave  all  things  and  follow  him  to  Bayreuth." 

Yet  when  there  he  records  as  his  first  thought  on 

ABOUT  W.  L.  COURTNEY  &  G.  MOORE    193 

being  presented  to  Madame  Wagner  in  her  late  fifties, 
"  Am  I  going  to  run  away  with  her  ?  " 

He  claims  as  virtue  that  he  is  the  only  Irishman  who 
never  made  a  speech,  but  he  can  be  very  eloquent 
when  interested  in  his  topic,  while  he  is  perennially  in 
earnest,  whether  tilting  at  his  indulgent  friend  Edmund 
Gosse,  or  abusing  cab  whistles,  or  deploring  the  casual 
invitation,  or  resenting  the  natural  habit  of  the  natural 

He  is  ever  of  original  and  unusual  thought,  which 
he  dresses  and  undresses  in  unusual  words.  His  con- 
clusions are  unexpected,  and  I  recall  him,  in  the 
earlier  days  of  the  war,  waving  the  subject  out  of  his 
sight  and  hearing  as  being  too  unpleasant  to  contem- 
plate or  to  discuss. 

"  All  this  chattering  during  a  storm  in  a  dark  forest 
must  cease  and  the  sun  must  come  out,  and  beautiful 
naked  nymphs  will  go  down  to  bathe  in  the  bright 


His  slightest  word-pictures  even  of  a  pain  in  his 
chest  eased  by  a  parlourmaid  and  a  poultice,  are  so 
vividly  incised  that  they  sink  as  indelibly  into  the 
memory  as  his  wonderful  account  of  his  passage 
across  the  Irish  Channel  and  his  historic  search  for 

"  George/'  I  make  the  announcement  with  fear,  "  I 
am  going  to  write  a  book  about  myself/' 

"  Eliza/'  he  said  with  a  cautionary  hand,  "  write  it 
in  English,"  and  he  continued  with  apologetic  inten- 
tion, '"  you  know  the  language  you  speak  is  not 

I  admitted  the  hard  judgment  with  a  soft  conscious- 
ness that  I  am  very  fond  of  George  Moore,  and 


although  he  persists  in  being  always  a  loiterer  on  the 
lowlands  of  love,  I  am  convinced  that  he  deeply  re- 
spects and  admires  woman.  Has  he  not  written, 
1  Without  women  we  should  be  all  reasonable,  there 
would  be  no  instinct.  And  a  reasonable  world — what 
would  it  be  like  ?  A  garden  without  flowers,  music 
without  melody. " 

His  eyes  gleam,  his  white  hair  drops  a  shade  lower 
on  to  his  brow,  and  he  chortles  into  his  chin  whilst  he 
encourages  me  : 

"  You  must  tell  all  about  the  men  who  have  pro- 
posed to  you."  I  protest  that  this  might  fill  a  line 
rather  than  a  volume,  for  I  surmise  that  it  was  I  who, 
in  the  words  of  Shy  lock  to  Tubal,  first  made  suggestion 
to  the  dark  and  diffident  lover  who  became  my  husband, 
"  Meet  me  at  our  Synagogue." 

"  No  one  has  proposed  to  me  anything — except  that 
they  should  read  to  me  from  a  manuscript  of  their  own 

I  entreat  George  Moore's  credence. 

"  I  will  never  believe  it,"  and  with  subtle  flattery  he 
pursues  the  phantom  of  my  far-reaching  fascination  ; 
but  this  is  merely  pretty  George's  way.  To  feed  the 
gluttonous  vanity  of  woman  he  pretends  that  he  thinks 
she  is  a  compendium  of  conquests  and  that  each  move 
in  all  her  games  might  be  punctuated  justly  with  a  line 
of  asterisks. 

After  I  had  known  George  Moore  in  those  days  at 
my  brother's  when  "  Pan  "  was  born,  and  the  Sporting 
Times  was  in  full  bloom,  he  went  again  to  live  in  France 
and  in  Ireland,  and  we  lost  each  other  while  Julia  and 
he  had  some  controversy  about  Doctor  Phillips. 

The  wrongs  and  rights  of  the  dispute  are  of  small 

ABOUT  W.  L.  COURTNEY  &  G.  MOORE     195 

matter,  but  to  Julia  quite  inadvertently,  George  Moore 
owed  something  of  the  details  of  the  tragedy  of  Esther 

I  remember  sitting  with  them  together  in  an  old 
vicarage  garden  at  Staines  whilst  he  read  to  us  the  first 
chapter  of  this  book  which  was  destined  to  become  his 
most  popular.  He  is  an  indefatigable  worker  towards 
his  own  high  standard,  and  although  he  may  discuss 
what  he  will  write,  he  deprecates  any  praise  of  what  he 
has  written.  No  trouble  has  ever  been  too  much  for 
George  Moore  to  take  to  secure  accurate  information. 
In  that  long  ago  he  intrigued  for  an  interview  with  a 
resident  wet-nurse,  who  had  fallen  from  grace  to 
Queen  Charlotte's  hospital.  "  Une  petite  faute,"  he 
muttered  as  he  followed  her  across  the  lawn. 

I  found  George  Moore  again  after  many  days  when 
I  cast  him  upon  the  waters  of  Babylon,  to  receive  later 
a  record  of  a  ride  on  an  Arab  steed  neither  swift  nor 
sure ;  he  told  vividly  of  rubble,  rubble,  rubble  over  a 
valley  up  a  winding  path  to  the  monastery  where  the 
Abbe  had  stood  to  receive  him,  and  he  looked 
around,  and  shut  his  eyes  and  begged  them  to 

In  a  copy  of  The  Brook  Kerith  which  provoked  this 
journey  he  wrote  : 


If  you  had  not  encouraged  my  departure  for 
Palestine,  and  I  was  very  unwilling  to  go,  this  book 
would  not  have  been  written. 

With  very  many  thanks,  I  remain, 

Your  affectionate  old  friend, 



It  is  a  mere  cliche  now  to  observe  that  he  is  our 
greatest  master  of  English  narrative  prose,  this  being 
declared  alike  by  the  few  able  to  recognise  its  truth 
and  the  many  who  have  never  turned  a  page  he  has 
written.  I  might  be  guilty  of  not  being  amongst  the 
first,  but  I  have  read  most  of  his  writings  and  listened 
to  him  whilst  he  has  projected  many  others  not  yet 
consigned  to  the  printed  page.  Rumour  declares  his 
proof  corrections  more  extensive  than  his  manuscripts, 
whilst  his  practice  of  writing  and  rewriting,  publishing 
and  republishing  is  amongst  the  chances  I  get  to  chaff 
him,  that  in  his  interest  I  may  become  a  collector  of 
last  editions. 

George  Moore  may  take  a  lenient  view  of  my 
levity,  whilst  we  sit  together  after  other  guests 
have  departed,  his  face  alight  in  the  glow  of  the 
fire,  and  all  tolerant  of  my  ignorance  with  due 
regard  for  my  prejudices,  he  will  inform  me  lightly 
in  the  French  classics.  He  may  even  expurgate  Jean 
Jacques  Rousseau  and  bowdlerise  Balzac  for  my  better 

He  is  without  guile,  properly  understood  by  a  very 
few,  and  he  will  tell  me  how  much  he  likes  Jews  while 
explaining  that  he  is  attached  to  me  because  I  possess 
none  of  their  traditional  features. 

He  has  written  "  that  we  do  not  grieve  for  the  dead 
because  they  have  been  deprived  of  the  pleasures  of 
this  life,  but  because  of  our  own  loss." 

So  that  when  he  said  to  me,  "  You  must  not  be  ill 
because  I  shall  miss  you  very  much,"  I  am  assured  of 
his  simple  egotism  and  proud  to  believe  his  words  to 
be  true. 

"  Eliza,"  he  said,  turning  back  from  the  door  on  the 

ABOUT  W.  L.  COURTNEY  &  G.  MOORE     197 

day  I  announced  my  book  to  him,  and  while  advancing 
gravely  under  the  chandelier,  "  light  writing  need  not 
be  bad  writing  ;  why  don't  you  write  like  Sterne  or 
Heine  ?  " 

Ah  !   why  don't  I  ? 



"  1L  yf^ARRIED  ?  Nonsense/'  I  said  to  my  in- 
%/|  former,  who  persisted. 

JL  V  JL       "  Oh  yes,  a  year  ago." 

Case  of  sixteen  and  just  out  of  the  nursery  here,  I 

Such  a  pretty  young  thing  was  Lilian  Braithwaite 
when  she  first  danced  into  my  sight  at  a  ball  at  the 
Empress  Rooms,  where  she  was  wearing  a  fancy  dress 
of  the  Moorish  type,  and  her  profile  beneath  a  little 
turban  of  red  and  gold  gave  my  aesthetic  sense  no  little 

;t  Same  profile  ?  "  asked  Lilian,  smiling  at  me  when 
I  recalled  our  initial  meeting. 

"  Exactly  similar,  you  haven't  altered  at  all." 

"  Oh,  well  I  ought  to  have,  but  you  have  seen  me 
so  frequently  you  would  not  have  noticed  it,  and 
if  you  had,  you  are  so  amiable  you  would  not  have 
mentioned  it." 

Hard-headed  young  woman  that !  not  sufficiently 
susceptible  to  adulation,  being  overfed  perhaps,  as 
actress  and  philanthropist,  for  her  career  spells  much 
success,  and  the  force  of  her  character  can  be  recog- 
nised to  the  benefit  of  many  professional  movements. 
When  necessary  she  plays  herfpart  as  chairman,  orator 



and  organiser,  and  it  is  amongst  theatrical  beliefs  that 
she  is  a  mascot.  Wherever  she  acts  the  long  run  can 
be  confidently  anticipated,  but  for  me  whatever  special 
pleading  she  may  urge  in  the  Bill  of  Divorcement 
for  happiness  minus  a  mad  husband,  her  best  work 
is  done  on  the  classic  comedy  side. 

Her  Lady  Teazle  and  her  Portia  are  spontaneously 
joyous  to  my  humour,  but  there  is  yet  to  my  regret 
the  absence  of  her  Beatrice  from  London  presenta- 
tion, even  whilst  I  remember  with  respect  the 
calm  and  soothing  beauty  of  her  Madonna  in  The 

She  is  a  complex  creature  is  Lilian  Braithwaite,  firm 
in  her  opinions  and  her  conduct,  upright  to  the  last 
letter  of  the  word,  strong  despite  the  ethereal  touch  to 
her  beauty,  and  she  must  be  accorded  recognition  as  a 
good  loser,  which  is  after  all  an  unusual  quality  to  be 
possessed  by  an  artist. 

She  is  a  sportswoman,  proving  it  bravely  in  her 
married  life,  and  no  less  conspicuously  when  in  all 
generosity  she  joined  me  to  meet  with  utter  disaster, 
in  the  only  trading  enterprise  I  ever  undertook.  The 
whole  conduct  of  the  affairs  of  this  was  placed  with  me, 
and  was  very  soon  supported  by  the  voluntary,  even 
insistent  contribution  of  a  bundle  of  bad  debts  from 
many  of  my  most  fervent  admirers,  who  would  bring 
all  their  friends  to  demand  lowered  prices  by  reason 
of  their  personal  acquaintanceship.  Feminine  friends 
may  play  the  deuce  in  shopkeeping  by  the  amateur  ! 
Madame  Mauve,  Ltd.,  which  was  dedicated  to  acces- 
sories before  the  fact  of  undressing  did  not  at  any  time 
reach  the  prosperity  I  prophesied  as  inevitable,  and  it 
most  clearly  failed  to  deserve  any  during  war-time 


when  uniforms  were  the  only  wear  and  the  best-laid 
lingerie  was  at  a  wholesale  discount.  Up  the  stairs 
came  the  bailiff,  down  the  windows  went  the  shutters, 
and  it  is  splendid  to  relate  that  no  one  member  of 
the  little  band  of  feminine  financiers  who  had  so  hope- 
fully and  faithfully  planked  down  their  money  blamed 
the  other,  or  cast  a  stone  of  reproach  at  their  incom- 
petent managing  director.  That  was  a  fine  feat  in 
womanly  reticence,  and  Lilian  Braithwaite  with 
Gertrude  Kingston  should  receive  some  special  order 
of  merit  for  their  exemplary  patience,  and  the 
generosity  extended  with  a  gentle  sympathy  for  me, 
the  offender-in-chief,  with  the  women's  army  perhaps 
as  the  plausible  auxiliary  to  the  final  annihilation 
of  my  hopes. 

I  always  associate  Lilian  Braithwaite  in  my  mind 
with  the  St.  James's  Theatre,  for  during  some  long 
time  she  was  leading  lady  there  with  Alexander,  whose 
adorers  were  legion,  whether  he  produced  romantic  or 
psychological  drama  ;  and  there  is  no  doubt  that  in 
giving  us  The  Second  Mrs.  Tanqueray  he  qualified  and 
passed  with  honours  as  a  pioneer  in  presentation 
of  the  lady  with  a  lurid  past  and  a  disconnected 

Alexander  was  under  the  management  of  Irving  for 
some  time,  going  straight  to  him  from  the  Kendals  to 
play  Caleb  Deecie,  the  blind  man,  in  The  Two  Roses, 
and  he  was  wont  to  be  very  amusing  about  his 
experiences  during  his  first  rehearsals  at  the  Lyceum. 

"  Not  quite  so  much  Piccadilly,  my  boy,"  Irving 
would  say  to  him  when,  clad  with  his  customary  care, 
he  walked  with  fashionable  swing  across  the  boards. 

"  Not  quite  so  much  Piccadilly,"  Alexander  would 


repeat  this  with  great  gusto,  whilst  he  would  also  tell 
of  a  valuable  lesson  given  to  him  when  he  was  hurriedly 
rattling  through  his  words  as  Faust. 

"  No,  no,  Alexander,  that  won't  do,  too  quick,  too 
quick,  think  of  the  little  boy  in  the  back  of  the  gallery 
who  has  paid  his  sixpence  to  hear  you.  You  should 
always  think  of  him,  and  be  quite  sure  that  he  does 
hear  you." 

Comment  on  the  perennial  value  of  such  teaching 
would  be  superfluous. 

Alexander  was  a  fine  producer,  and  no  theatre  was 
ever  conducted  with  more  complete  decorum  than  was 
St.  James's  under  his  management,  where  many  fine 
actors  progressed  to  fame.  Fred  and  Julia  Neilson, 
H.  B.  Irving,  H.  V.  Esmond  and  Fay  Davis  are  amongst 
the  few  I  think  of  hurriedly.  He  took  infinite  pains 
with  the  younger  members  of  his  company,  and  he  was 
a  man  of  aspiration  and  ideals  of  every  kind,  tempered, 
however,  with  a  strange  racial  caution. 

He  obtained  more  uninterrupted  success  than  most 
managers,  and  I  have  heard  a  lady  enthusiastically 
declare  that  : 

"  So  long  as  any  act  in  any  comedy  shows  me 
Alexander  with  a  broad  red  ribbon  across  his  evening 
waistcoat  I  shall  go  and  hear  him  once  a  week." 

But  although  I  might  have  held  that  sentiment,  I  fell 
under  his  displeasure  inadvertently,  but  deservedly. 
Somehow  or  another  I  appear  to  have  collected 
dramatic  critics,  the  desire  to  do  so  owing  with  its 
accomplishment  to  my  constant  appearance  at  all  the 
first  performances  of  plays.  I  was  grateful  for  the 
chance  to  hobnob  with  anyone  attached  to  a  theatre, 
but  my  gossiping  habits  led  me  sadly  into  disgrace, 


and  through  that  disgrace  most  happily  to  the  intimate 
friendship  of  George  Alexander. 

It  was  on  the  first  night  of  that  ill-treated  drama 
Guy  Domville  by  Henry  James  that  I  might  have  been 
heard  talking  volubly  to  old  Joseph  Knight,  doyen  of 
the  critics  then,  and  chaffed  so  aptly  when  he  made 
a  super-autobiographical  speech  at  a  public  dinner. 

"  Joe  Knight  had  a  thousand  Fs." 

George  Alexander  wrote  to  me  protesting  against 
my  adverse  prattle,  whilst  acknowledging  that  he 
realised  I  had  no  conception  what  harm  might  be  done 
in  uttering  thus  loudly  amidst  a  crowd  of  newspaper 

I  was  deeply  penitent  and  received  the  reward  in 
excess  of  my  sin. 

"  Will  you  come  to  breakfast  at  eleven  o'clock 
to-morrow  ?  >: 

Many  times  I  enjoyed  hospitality  from  Alexander 
and  a  never-failing  welcome  from  his  wife. 

Lady  Alexander  remains  a  very  well-known  figure  hi 
social  life,  ringing  the  changes  of  fashion  in  black  and 
white  and  grey,  which  she  affects  exclusively  without 
the  least  monotony.  In  many  benevolent  causes  she 
sells  programmes,  heading  her  bevy  of  beautiful 
assistants  with  such  elaborate  elegance  that  we  call 
her  affectionately  "  our  chief  bridesmaid." 

The  way  she  raked  in  the  shekels  during  the  war 
was  wonderful ;  no  one  could  resist  her  appeal,  and 
she  would  make  as  much  as  two  hundred  to  five  hun- 
dred pounds  in  an  afternoon.  She  was  indeed  so  well 
recognised  as  Jill  Sheppard  of  the  road  to  order  "  stand 
and  deliver  cash  "  that  once  when  she  was  sitting  in 
a  corner  at  the  Coliseum  upon  no  marauding  intent 


but  merely  to  hear  Alexander  play  in  Howard  and 
Son,  three  people  upon  seeing  her  put  their  hands  in 
their  pockets. 

I  have  heard  it  mentioned  that  when  she  was  on 
the  most  active  service  a  tame  capitalist  gave  her 
twenty  pounds  for  a  programme  with  a  piteous 
request,  "  Do  leave  me  twopence  for  my  bus  fare 

The  last  time  Alexander  appeared  on  the  stage  he 
gave  a  beautiful  study  of  The  Aristocrat  in  the  French 
Revolution,  and  there  is  evidence  that  he  never  sus- 
pected himself  to  be  seriously  ill,  for  he  acquired  all 
rights  in  Bernstein's  last  drama  during  the  summer 
before  he  died. 

I  have  often  sat  with  Alexander  between  the  acts  in 
the  ante-room  to  his  dressing-room,  whence  he  once 
emerged  to  give  me  a  little  terra-cotta  bust  of  Irving, 
and  to  show  me  a  larger  one  he  possessed  in  bronze, 
a  miniature  of  the  life-size  marble  which  the  Earl  of 
Plymouth  had  bought  from  Hampton.  This  bust  is 
quite  the  best  plastic  likeness  of  Irving  I  have  seen, 
and  it  was  done  after  two  sittings,  and  destined  to 
form  part  of  the  big  Victorian  memorial  group  now 
standing  in  the  town  of  Lancaster. 

Alexander  shared  with  Edward  Terry,  Augustus 
Harris  and  Walter  Reynolds  the  responsibility  of  being 
the  only  men  connected  with  the  stage  who  took  a 
practical  part  in  municipal  affairs.  Alexander's  elec- 
tion to  the  London  County  Council  marked  an  epoch 
in  new  and  valuable  regulations  and  reforms,  and  he 
became  the  chairman  of  the  Parks  Committee  with 
threats  of  retirement  altogether  from  the  stage,  and 
an  acceptance  of  an  offered  seat  in  Parliament. 


His  untiring  energies  in  these  directions  whilst  he 
was  busy  rehearsing  and  acting  and  producing  plays 
and  managing  his  theatre,  unquestionably  laid  the 
foundation-stone  of  his  mortal  illness,  which  cul- 
minated so  distressfully  at  the  beautiful  house  he  had 
built  for  himself  in  Hertfordshire  overlooking  those 
fairy  woods  of  Chorley. 

I  have  much  testimony  to  Alexander's  affection  for 
me,  signed  photographs  and  innumerable  letters,  but 
what  held  him  and  his  wife  and  me  eternally  together 
is  the  memory  of  that  night  when  Irving  was  brought 
from  Bradford  to  temporary  rest  at  his  flat  in 
Stratton  Street.  There,  Harry  and  Dorothea,  Lau- 
rence and  Mabel,  and  the  Alexanders  and  I  sat  watch- 
ing through  the  hours.  Alexander,  like  all  who  worked 
for  him,  was  deeply  devoted  to  Irving. 

As  I  stood  by  his  side  in  the  after  years  on  the 
widespreading  loggia  facing  the  cherry  tree  walk  at 
Chorley,  the  pity  of  his  illness  was  almost  unbearable. 
No  man  ever  looked  more  beautiful,  but  none  could 
see  him  and  not  understand  the  hopelessness  of  his 
condition,  and  the  courage  which  went  to  the  gaiety 
of  his  prediction  that  he  would  be  at  work  again  by 
Christmas.  I  held  his  arm  whilst  we  strolled  a  little 
way  down  the  path.  He  was  very  frail,  yet  walked 
uprightly,  not  leaning  on  his  stick,  and  elegant  yet  in 
those  immaculate  grey  tweed  clothes,  that  irreproach- 
able tie  and  the  faultless  collar  which  had  been  the 
envy  of  all  fashionable  manhood  in  town.  But  there 
was  "  not  too  much  Piccadilly  "  then,  and  his  white 
hair  fluttered  just  a  little  in  the  wind  as  I  left  him 
standing  in  the  porchway  with  his  helpmate — no  wife 
was  ever  better  deserving  of  that  title — and  his  whim- 


sical  smile  to  her  and  to  me  was  unutterably  sad. 
I  was  so  sure  we  should  never  meet  again.  Although 
I  wrote  later  when  I  was  staying  with  the  Irvings  at 
Harrow  he  was  unable  to  receive  me,  and  with  my 
love  I  had  sent  some  cakes  of  unleavened  bread  which 
I  hoped  he  might  be  permitted  to  enjoy,  just  before 
his  pencilled  word  to  me  : 

"  MY  DEAR  MRS.  ARIA — and  mine  to  you  (love  I 
mean)  and  grateful  thanks  for  your  kind  thoughts  of 
me.  I  had  my  accountant  here  or  I  should  have  been 
delighted  to  see  you,  though  Harrow  is  a  pretty  long 
way.  No,  I  have  had  very  few  visitors,  and  have  not 
felt  up  to  it.  I  have  my  ups  and  downs,  at  the  moment 
I  am  in  the  latter  and  sent  to  bed  again.  I  expect 
you  are  busy  first-nighting.  I  have  just  consulted  my 
doctor.  He  tells  me  I  may  eat  the  box  you  send,  but 
not  the  contents.  It  shall  sit  by  my  bedside  and  I  shall 
look  forward  to  the  time  when  I  can  dive  into  it  and 
swallow  the  cakes  with  lots  of  butter.  It  won't  be  so 
very  long  I  hope ;  I  was  delighted  to  see  you,  bless  you. 
Yours  ever, 


The  beginning  of  my  acquaintance  with  Isidore  de 
Lara  was  not  more  propitious  than  my  initial  intro- 
duction to  Sir  George  Alexander. 

My  ignorance  of  the  art  of  music  not  being  properly 
concealed  beneath  a  bump  of  reverence  for  it,  I  have 
suspected  that  many  go  to  church  for  the  pleasure  of 
hearing  themselves  carol  rather  than  for  the  better 
part  of  prayer.  However,  I  know  I  was  badly  to  blame 
when  a  kindly  hostess  frowned  at  me  for  giggling  at 


the  significant  emphasis  in  De  Lara's  beautiful  voice 
whilst  he  was  singing  "  The  Maid  of  Athens,"  but  ere 
we  parted  I  had  made  amends.  The  Victorian  era 
took  its  music  with  great  decorum  ;  it  was  considered 
exaggerated  and  even  immoral  to  display  any  intensity 
of  feeling  while  singing  songs  of  love.  De  Lara  was 
the  first  artist  in  England  to  sing  in  English  of  love 
as  if  he  were  really  singing  to  the  beloved  without 
hypocrisy  or  restraint. 

He  was  The  Great  Lover  in  song,  and  it  is  amongst 
his  gratified  ambitions  as  composer  that  his  music 
inspires  love. 

De  Lara  took  himself  and  his  ideals  to  the  Continent, 
where  he  made  his  reputation  as  writer  of  opera,  and 
a  quarter  of  a  century  sped  before  I  saw  him  again 
after  my  unmannerly  conduct  condoned  by  me  of  me 
as  due  to  the  hysterical  habit  of  the  young  girl. 

All  involuntary  is  my  detachment  from  music,  and 
my  last  active  injustice  towards  it  was  that  Czerny 
study  which  led  my  father  to  decide  that  mathematics 
should  be  my  vocation.  I  have  met  in  intimacy  but  few 
musicians  ;  my  early  days  were  associated  slightly  with 
Tosti,  with  Arthur  Sullivan  and  Liza  Lehmann,  closely 
with  Charles  K.  Salaman,  Frederick  Co  wen  and  with 
Hope  Temple,  ballad  writer  and  one  of  the  prettiest 
girls  I  ever  saw,  with  much  talent  and  bewitchment  in 
her  to  promote  a  propensity  for  being  betrothed  to 
the  well  known  in  the  land  of  harmony.  She  was  suc- 
cessively engaged  to  four  of  these,  ultimately  marrying 
Andre  Messager  ;  and  she  would  commiserate  with 
me  for  being  tone  deaf,  which,  after  all,  is  a  misfortune 
rather  than  a  crime,  and  it  has  deprived  me  of  con- 
siderable pleasure  "  and  of  considerable  pain  " — 


To  face  page  206 


whispers  my  tame  cynic  who  is  a  confirmed  highbrow 
in  the  world  of  Art. 

But  I  can  find  no  consolation  in  this  nor  in  my 
kinship  with  the  case  of  Doctor  Johnson,  nor  in  his 
theory  that  of  all  noises  music  is  the  most  disagreeable. 
I  sympathise  with  myself  rather  in  my  belief  in 
Shakespeare's  verdict  on  those  "  who  have  no  music 
in  their  souls." 

In  writing  of  De  Lara,  therefore,  I  quote  a  few  lines 
from  an  opinion  of  that  consummate  critic  Camille 

:<  No  manifestation  in  Europe  during  the  last  forty 
years  has  left  him  indifferent ;  he  has  always  been  a 
student  of  the  lyric  stage,  and  his  chief  characteristics 
are  the  Oriental  colouring  and  a  feverish  expression  of 
passion  which  is  unlike  the  violence  of  the  '  morbid- 
ezza  '  of  the  romantic  school,  and  resembles  in  no  way 
the  coarse  sexual  exteriorisation  of  the  Italian  realists. 
It  is  an  expression  of  the  heart,  and  is  always  the  out- 
come of  an  inspiration.  He  loves  the  stage,  never 
separating  his  music  from  the  drama.  He  is  master 
of  all  the  resources  of  the  theatre  ;  he  is  a  master  of 
melody.  On  the  perfect  blending  of  the  voice  and  the 
orchestra  this  composer  attains  a  high  degree  of  per- 
fection. " 

Ashamed  I  admit  to  a  greater  susceptibility  to  "  The 
Garden  of  Sleep  "  than  to  the  finest  passage  of  the 
love  duets  in  his  acclaimed  Messaline  ;  I  remain  more 
capable  of  appreciating  De  Lara  as  a  friend  than  as  a 
musician,  but  as  a  man  he  is  elusive  in  his  moods,  as 
varying  as  the  really  ever  constant  woman  is  supposed 
to  be.  He  is  a  capital  talker  and  a  willing  ;  but  while 
you  think  you  have  wholly  enchained  him  and  he  is 


beaming  upon  you  with  the  benevolent  mote,  all  unlike 
the  praying  king  in  Hamlet,  his  thoughts  fly  up,  his 
words  remain  below.  If  you  are  observant  you  are 
aware  that  mentally  he  has  wandered  away  pregnant 
with  song  on  to  some  wild  and  open  sea. 

That  he  remains  a  child  of  nature  is  amongst  his 
charms  ;  he  is  never  affected,  he  yawns  when  he  is 
sleepy  and  he  goes  home  when  he  is  bored,  although 
such  gentle  courtesy  and  grace  accompany  the  yawning 
and  the  going,  it  is  easy  to  forgive  him,  even  to  set 
about  planning  some  social  condition  which  may  prove 
more  congenial  to  him. 

Labelled  and  libelled  in  young  youth,  poseur >  no  one 
was  ever  more  simple  and  direct,  suffering  indeed  from 
super-sincerity.  You  are  on  to  a  good  thing  when  you 
enlist  his  partisanship  for  any  cause,  but  if  you  are 
merely  a  dawdler  on  the  threshold  of  some  scheme  he 
approves,  beware  of  the  forceful  impetus  of  his 
advocacy.  He  will  drag  you  relentlessly  along  to 
industry,  to  slavery  may  be,  and  inevitably  to  en- 

Devoting  his  energies  during  the  war  to  needy 
musicians,  he  gave  1400  concerts  and  delivered  him- 
self of  some  eloquence  at  each,  making  his  special  plea 
the  temporary  divorce  of  German  music  from  English 
ears.  Gallant  campaigner  as  he  is  for  British  music, 
he  has  now  rescinded  that  absolute  decree,  confessing 
his  personal  joy  at  the  restitution,  which  goes  to  prove 
that  he  is  a  sportsman  as  well  as  a  patriot. 

As  a  patriot  he  is  double-hearted,  owning  France  as 
deep  in  his  love  as  England  ;  never  was  a  caricature 
better  deserved  than  the  one  perpetrated  by  Dulac, 
who  showed  him  in  strong  or  rather  light  boxing  gear, 


with  the  foremost  foot  sturdily  planted  in  Paris  and 
the  hindermost  in  London.  But  did  not  someone 
write  that  "  every  Englishman  of  culture  prefers  to 
live  in  France  "  ? 

Although  De  Lara  is  a  composer  of  music  with  no  less 
than  eight  operas  to  his  credit,  he  is  always  a  student 
of  literature,  a  philosopher  who  is  no  mere  disciple, 
but  an  advanced  walker  by  the  way  of  earnest  thought, 
and  he  is  a  fervid  politician  in  three  languages. 

There  is  some  cause  to  regret  his  glib  efficiency  in 
those  three  languages,  if  you  wish  to  enjoy  his  conver- 
sation whilst  you  share  a  meal  with  him  at  a  restaurant. 
He  is  of  so  cosmopolitan  a  custom  that  he  is  known  to 
every  foreign  waiter  in  the  room  ;  he  gets  cordial 
welcome  from  each,  whilst  he  orders  his  food  in  French, 
his  wine  in  Italian,  his  cigar  in  English,  and  by  the 
salaam  of  the  Turkish  coffee  purveyor  you  may  suspect 
him  of  being  no  stranger  to  Oriental  experience.  In 
every  social  gathering  he  is  well  met  and  largely  indi- 
vidual. Combatant  first  and  courtier  afterwards,  he  is 
not  inclined  towards  any  stars  of  the  stage  nor  possessed 
of  much  partiality  for  the  prima  donna. 

All  artist  though  he  is,  he  has  no  care  for  beautiful 
belongings  ;  his  domesticity  is  stronger  in  theory  than 
in  practice  ;  as  surroundings  he  is  well  content  with  a 
piano,  a  large  table,  a  deep  easy-chair  and  some  books, 
while  his  favourite  outside  view  is  a  mountain  in  full 
snow — not  always  handy. 

Men  and  women  like  De  Lara  for  his  candour  and 
his  comradeship  ;  a  fine  man  with  a  fine  spirit,  you  are 
conscious  that  he  would  if  he  could  secure  you  to  com- 
fort and  protect  you  against  ill.  However  sad  you 
may  have  cause  to  be,  his  warm  clasp  of  greeting  tempts 


you  to  hope  and  to  a  happy  remembrance  of  those 
words  : 

"  What  is  between  us  two  we  know, 
Take  hands  and  let  the  whole  world  go." 

"  Love  your  editor  as  yourself  so  that  your  days 
may  be  long  in  the  land  of  his  ruling  "  is  a  good  enough 
motto  for  the  journalist,  and  some  excuse  goes  to  such 
easy  course  with  the  literary  director  of  Truth,  Robert 
Bennett,  under  whose  amiable  auspices  I  have  worked 
regularly  these  twelve  years  or  more,  and  like  Charley's 
Aunt  I  am  still  running. 

What  a  record  of  indulgence  given,  and  of  course 
after  this  declaration  more  must  inevitably  follow  ;  but 
really  editors  are  (and  I  have  suffered  many  madly)  not 
exactly  angels,  being  better  fitted  for  candidature  in 
an  acknowledged  executioners'  class.  So  drastic  they 
may  be  when  dealing  with  a  sensitive  contributor,  so 
capricious  and  so  unmindful  and  completely  indifferent 
that  the  self-respecting  chronicler  hates  to  have  a  line 
transferred  or  a  comma  lifted.  Mr.  Bennett  is  punc- 
tilious in  his  apologies  when  he  omits  my  most  dearly 
beloved  paragraphs — but  he  omits  them.  The  benign 

and  benevolent  being  who  passes  Mrs.  A 's  diary, 

which  counts  weekly  amongst  my  seven  deadly  sins, 
should  be  exalted  mightily  as  the  very  model  of  a 
prime  minister  of  print. 

It  is  not  for  me  to  say  how  extremely  well  he  writes 
upon  political  and  criminal — happy  union  ! — affairs  ; 
no  weakness  escapes  his  busy  pen,  for  his  mind  is  as 
smart  and  dapper  as  his  clothes,  but  despite  his  gentle 
aspect,  he  is  shrewd,  and  has  thrown  many  challenges 
to  the  unjust,  the  incompetent,  and  the  dishonest  in 


high  places,  and  met  them  bravely  too  in  the  Law 
Courts  and  in  his  official  arena  in  Westminster. 

I  may  be  prejudiced,  but  I  am  convinced  that 
no  more  courteous  and  kindly  man  ever  sat  in  an 
editorial  chair  than  Robert  Bennett,  who  doubtless 
thanks  his  stars  that  I  do  not  more  often  call  to  ask 
for  "  some  "  in  advance,  though  when  I  thus  transgress 
he  wears  for  me  perennially  the  nicest  smile  and  in- 
cidentally the  nicest  neckties  of  blue  and  white  spotted 

He  is  possessed  of  an  invincible  desire  to  help 
everybody,  perverting  Polonius,  rather  a  borrower 
than  a  lender  be.  He  is  not  conspicuously  attached 
to  usurers,  and  I  am  aware  that  he  beams  upon  my 
departure  as  gladly  as  upon  my  arrival,  and  I  remember 
gratefully  that  he  has  made  my  Christmas  merry  by 
one  bonus  and  my  midsummer  holiday  the  more 
enjoyable  by  another.  May  he  continue 

"  Long  to  reign  o'er  us 
Not  too  censorious.'* 

And  I  quote  from  him  with  a  vexed  vanity  : 
'  With  all  respect  to  the  rest  of  the  female  branch 
of  the  profession,  I  consider  that  Emily  Crawford 
never  had  an  equal  for  range,  literary  finish,  individu- 
ality and  insight  into  men  and  things.  And  perhaps 
the  most  admirable  thing  about  her  from  the  editorial 
point  of  view — though  I  have  known  others  who  run 
her  close  in  this  respect — was  her  unfailing  precision 
in  the  delivery  of  the  '  copy  '  when  required,  however 
adverse  the  conditions  might  be. 

The  most  remarkable  example  of  this  was  when  in 
1914,  at  eighty  years  of  age,  she  was  driven  from  her 


home  at  Senlis  by  the  invading  Hun ;  she  made  her 
way  to  Havre  en  route  for  England,  and  thence  de- 
spatched her  batch  of  '  copy  '  for  next  week's  Truth, 
evidently  written  on  any  odd  scraps  of  paper  that  she 
could  get  hold  of  at  the  moment,  and  apparently  in 
some  restaurant  or  cabaret,  where  she  had  to  use  sand 
instead  of  blotting-paper/' 




Reproduced  by  permission  of  "  The  Graphic" 

To  face  page  212 



THERE  is  a  famous  lady  who  shall  of  course 
be  nameless,  which  she  will  of  course  hate, 
now  employed  upon  her  Memoirs,  and 
reported  to  desire  of  her  publishers  sufficient  space 
to  print  all  her  love-letters.  Some  follies  might  be 
revealed  here,  but  not  necessarily  deserving  of  account. 

So  few  know  how  to  write  love-letters,  and  the 
science  of  love-making  is  rare  too  in  England,  but 
easily  recognised  when  of  the  expert  superior  order 
learnt  in  France  or  Italy. 

A  pretty  equestrian  accompanied  in  the  Row  by 
her  riding-master  was  greeted  by  a  well-known  artist 
in  affection  : 

"  How  beautiful  you  look  up  there, "  and  at  least 
half  a  yard  of  compliment  to  follow. 

Experienced  riding-master,  after  the  farewell  had 
been  poetically  and  reluctantly  accomplished,  looked 
at  the  departing  figure  with  admiration,  and  com- 
mented :  A 

"  'E  do  know  'ow  to  tell  the  tale,  don't  Je  ?  " 

With  those  who  would  ever  exalt  yesterday  above 
to-day  the  belief  obtains  that  with  the  art  of  wooing, 
the  art  of  letter-writing  is  dead  :  sheer  calumny.  It  is 
not  even  moribund,  nor  does  it  sleep.  It  is  as  alive  as 
the  sculpture  of  Epstein,  and  the  proletariat  at  play 



under  the  brush  of  Nevinson,  and  it  is  indeed  vastly 
improved  since  the  eighteenth  and  nineteenth  cen- 
turies when  by  the  pompous  with  a  passion  for  the 
prolix,  correspondence  flowed  in  elegant  futility  at  the 
greatest  length  on  the  least  provocation,  and  no  one 
was  safe  from  a  screed  of  counsel  or  confidence  or 
complaint  with  meteorological  interruptions. 

It  always  enrages  me  to  read  the  constant  cry  of  the 
bygone  ladies  for  more  letters  from  their  husbands  who 
appeared  to  miss  the  rare  posts  with  great  regularity, 
and  for  more  frequent  visits  from  reluctant  lovers.  The 
travelling  suitor  or  suited  was  an  asset  in  those  days  not 
properly  appreciated.  Happily  we  are  less  eager  now, 
or  more  reticent,  but  certainly  we  are  briefer  in  our 
methods  of  expressing  ourselves,  our  longings,  our 
physical  ills  and  our  emotional  crises. 

With  only  a  three-halfpenny  stamp  in  the  house  we 
have  so  accurately  appraised  the  limit  of  essential 
words  that  we  can  convey  emotion  with  atmosphere 
included  upon  a  mere  postcard. 

The  most  sympathetic  letter  I  ever  read  came  from 
a  lay  pen,  and  from  no  lover  either,  just  from  one 
friend  to  another  in  sorrow,  when  a  large  bundle  of 
white  lilac  held  tight  to  its  stalk  a  card  inscribed,  "  All 
that  I  have  and  am  is  waiting  to  be  called  upon." 

Of  course  the  departure  platform  at  railway  stations 

echoes  with  "  write  soon"  and  of  course  there  remain 


with  us  alien  governesses  and  the  ultra-capable 
American  ladies  to  support  the  stationers  and  cover  a 
quire  or  so  weekly  with  anathema  against  our  abomin- 
able climate,  the  graces  and  disgraces  of  fashionable 
society  and  the  questions  without  answers  to  the 
domestic  service  problem. 


But  given  a  reasonable  pretext  such  as  business  or 
love,  how  admirably  now  do  the  letter-writers  comport 
themselves  !  and  ever  with  that  clear  brevity  which 
should  stamp  the  former  excuse,  while  the  latter  glows 
with  sincerity,  lacking  the  gush  and  reiterated  epithet 
which  formerly  were  prominent  in  disfiguring  the 
epistolary  interchange  whenever  love  defaulters  were 
arraigned  in  court. 

It  is  rare  now  for  the  educated  many  to  present  a 
suit  for  breach  of  promise  of  marriage,  more  con- 
stantly is  its  fulfilment  the  occasion  for  the  public 
delivery  of  the  private  desire,  and  legal  authorities 
have  settled  the  formula  of  farewell  to  the  dull  and 
uninteresting  fiction  of  a  demanded  restitution  of 
rights  which  have  proved  wrongs. 

Julia  was  wont  to  say,  "  Unless  Eliza  receives  each 
morning  four  letters  from  leading  actresses  which 
commence  '  dearest '  she  looks  unhappy." 

Without  contesting  her  point,  which  was  of  course 
as  absurd  as  exaggerated,  I  find  some  foundation  for 
it  while  turning  over  my  boxes  of  letters.  Why  do  I 
keep  these  ?  Not  to  prevent  my  executor  from  feeling 
dull,  for  I  have  issued  a  special  bequest  for  their 
prompt  burning. 

But  with  the  exception  of  H.  G.  Wells,  who  is  of  an 
incorrigibly  affectionate  natufe  (I  must  make  a  card 
index  of  his  loving  adjectives),  I  discover  that  my 
masculine  correspondents  are  not  quite  so  appreciative 
as  my  feminine. 

I  make  a  selection  from  these  with  all  diffidence, 
finding  amongst  many  interesting  letters  one  from 
Sir  Johnstone  Forbes-Robertson,  with  a  rough  sketch 
from  his  pen  of  the  Irving  statue  as  it  was  originally 


intended  to  be,  wearing  a  frock-coat  with  the  masks 
of  tragedy  and  comedy  leaning  against  a  pile  of  books 
or  plays.  Later,  when  all  was  readjusted,  Sir  John- 
stone  wrote  to  me  : 


"  Every  time  I  pass  the  site  I  rejoice  we  got  our 
way  about  that  one.  The  statue  would  have  been  lost 
on  the  Embankment.  There  he  would  have  been  with 
several  others  ;  at  the  back  of  the  Portrait  Gallery, 
where  by  the  way  many  of  his  friends  are,  he  will  be 
alone,  but  hourly  passed  by  vast  crowds  who  loved 

I  have  been  fortunate  in  a  way  in  including  doctors 
and  dentists  amongst  my  friends,  and  I  have  always 
been  amused  to  learn  that  those  patients  on  the  free 
list  invariably  keep  their  cabs  waiting.  One  doctor  I 
know  used  to  indulge  my  taste  for  entertainment  by 
writing  my  prescriptions  in  verse.  I  shall  just  hope  he 
doesn't  read  biography  when  I  quote  his  last  doggerel 
to  excuse  some  delayed  remedy  : 

"  'Twas  cruel  to  forget  Eliza's  tonic, 
A  lack  of  sympathy  wellnigh  Teutonic, 
My  addled  brain  is  almost  embryonic, 
Soft  before,  its  softness  now  is  chronic. 

But  here  in  verse,  I  hail  you  all  symphonic, 
And  gath'ring  my  scatter'd  wits  evolve  a  tonic." 

I  have  managed  somehow  to  retain  my  old  friends 
as  well  as  to  make  new  ones,  but  alas  !  an  exception 
to  this  most  delightful  rule  appears  to  be  W.  J.  Locke, 
whose  books  I  faithfully  read,  whilst  missing  the  man 
in  the  flesh,  but,  by  the  way,  I  don't  believe  he  has  any, 
at  least  none  to  speak  of.  Turning  over  my  bundle  I 


find  so  many  notes  from  him  and  such  nice  ones  that 
I  shall  quote  a  few  words  to  brave  his  anger. 

"  Although  I  only  go  in  boats  on  the  understanding 
that  no  punting  or  rowing  or  horrid  physical  exercise 
shall  spoil  my  luxurious  enjoyment,  believe  me  there 
is  nothing  I  should  enjoy  more,  and  it  is  with  very 
sighful  regret  I  have  to  give  up  the  pleasant  prospect 
to  see  you  at  Cookham." 

More  promising  was  the  following  : 

"  I  will  abandon  rural  joys  next  Sunday.  They  were 
so  sloppy  and  dippy  this  last  week-end,  and  I  will 
accept  your  invitation.  Your  parties  are  the  pleasantest 
I  know.  The  birthday  of  the  successor  of  Septimus  is 
dragging  out  a  weary  chrysalis  existence  in  magazines, 
and  will  not  burst  out  until  the  spring. — W.  J.  LOCKE." 

And  his  last  proclamation  allows  the  infringement 
of  his  copyright : 


Quotation  is  the  sincerest  form  of  flattery,  so 
how  can  I  resist  ? 

Your  letter  takes  me  back  to  the  delightful  evenings  I 

used  to  spend  at  your  house.   Oh  those  fugacious  years. 

I  and  mine  are  well ;   I  have  settled  down,  I  think 

for  good,  in  this  jumble  of  wonders  known  as  the 

Cote  d'Azur. 

With  kindest  regards, 

I  am,  yours  sincerely, 

W.  J.  LOCKE." 

I  yield  to  the  temptation  to  print  a  letter  I  received 
from  Sir  Arthur  Pinero  when  I  drew  his  attention  to 


some  ignorant  comments  which  had  been  printed  in 
a  leading  newspaper  about  the  influence  of  Irving  on 
the  stage. 

We  discovered  that  the  writer  was  an  expert  on  sport ! 
and  yet  I  felt  it  was  an  outrage  to  permit  his  imperti- 
nence to  go  unreprimanded. 

However,  Pinero  wrote  : 

;<  Some  day  perhaps  I  will  write  about  dear  Irving  ; 
but  to  engage  in  a  newspaper  controversy — for  so  it 
would  be  made — in  the  *  silly  '  season  is  not  to  my 

Very  heartily  I  sympathise  with  your  feelings  in  the 
matter.  The  articles  are  one-sided  and  most  un- 

I  ask  after  you  often,  and  have  been  grieved  to  hear 
you  are  not  well.  But  I  don't  believe  all  I  hear,  and 
so  I  hope  you  are  the  same  bright  creature  I  have 
always  known. 

Yours  ever, 


And  how  encouraged  I  have  been  in  my  admiration 
for  actresses.  I  remember  once  writing  an  article  to 
insist  how  worthy  they  were  of  all  admiration,  and 
receiving  the  following  acknowledgment  from  Violet 
Vanbrugh  : 

"  What  a  jolly  article  in  the  Express.  I  feel  we  all 
owe  you  thanks  and  our  love.  I  never  or  rather  very 
seldom  see  you,  but  in  my  heart  there  is  always  a  warm 
corner  for  you. 

Yours  affectionately, 



To  face  page  218 


And  again  from  her  I  have  a  very  delightful 
note  in  which  she  mentions  her  pleasure  at  receiving 
a  small  fragment  from  the  robe  which  Irving  wore  as 

"  How  can  I  thank  you  ?  You  have  given  me  some- 
thing that  I  value  more  deeply  than  I  can  express.  It  is 
dear  and  kind  of  you  to  have  given  it  to  me.  I've  had 
it  put  into  a  special  box  with  a  glass  cover  which  I  am 
going  to  have  sealed  up  with  a  little  inscription,  written 
by  Harry,  saying  it  is  a  piece  of  the  dress  worn  by  his 
father  as  Cardinal  Wolsey  ;  so  it  will  not  only  give  me 
pleasure  and  pride  in  its  possession,  but  it  will  also 
belong  to  Prue,  and  will  be  always  one  of  her  greatest 
treasures. — VIOLET  VANBRUGH." 

Rather  a  funny  epistle  came  to  me  once  from  Arnold 
Bennett  after  I  had  written  to  ask  him  of  the  chance 
that  a  play  of  his  which  had  not  then  been  produced 
might  suit  Laurence  Irving. 

"  Many  thanks  for  your  letter  of  the  5th  inst.  which 
arrived  to-day.  The  play  in  question  is  called  The 
Great  Adventure.  One  copy  is  in  America  and  the 
other  is  out  somewhere  in  the  vague  void.  As  soon  as 
I  get  one  of  these  back  I  will  let  you  know.  I  heard 
from  Frank  Vernon  that  Laurence  Irving  had  heard 
of  the  play  from  Dennis  Eadie,  and  my  impression 
was,  and  is,  that  Eadie  had  a  copy  of  it.  If  so,  he  might 
hand  it  to  Laurence  Irving. 

I  always  find  that  there  are  about  a  score  of  people 
in  London  who  know  more  about  my  plays  than  I  do 
myself.  I  write  them,  then  they  pass  from  me.  I 


shouldn't  be  at  all  surprised  if  you  had  a  copy  of  that 
play,  somewhere  in  a  reticule.  Our  return  to  London 
shall  be  duly  announced  to  you.  Kindest  regards 
from  us  both. 

Yours  sincerely, 


I  always  think  one  of  the  most  amusing  communi- 
cations I  had  was  from  Barry  Pain,  though  I  have  not 
the  least  recollection  what  I  wrote  to  him  about,  yet 
I  preserve  his  answer  : 

"  Many  thanks  for  your  charming  letter.  I  feel  that 
it  is  a  letter  which  should  be  answered  wittily. 

I  have  left  the  above  blank  space  in  case  anything 
witty  should  occur  to  me  at  the  last  moment,  even  as 
the  evening  papers  leave  space  for  late  news.  If  it 
perforce  remains  blank,  please  consider  that  though 
stupid  I  am  grateful,  and  very  glad  that  you  liked  my 

Very  truly  yours, 


Barry  Pain  should  certainly  have  been  paying  me  a 
royalty  for  years,  and  I  have  endeavoured  without 
hope  to  point  out  to  him  his  indebtedness,  since  all  his 
most  profitable  books  have  boasted  a  heroine  named 
"  Eliza. "  Yet  not  a  halfpenny  of  fees  have  I  been  able 
to  extract  from  him,  and  secretly  I  am  aware  that  his 
"  Eliza  "  series  is  not  amongst  his  favourites,  and 
he  is  almost  resentful  of  their  obstinate  longevity  and 
the  suggestion  that  he  is  best  known  as  their  parent. 


It  was  after  the  Shakespeare  Tercentenary  perform- 
ance which  took  place  at  Drury  Lane  when  Sir  Frank 
Benson  was  knighted  by  the  King  that  I  wrote  con- 
gratulations to  Sir  George  Alexander  because  he  had 
been  prime  mover  in  the  whole  proceedings,  really 
distinguished  by  general  excellence. 

I  was  thrilled  by  his  reply,  so  faithful  to  the  memory 
of  Irving  : 


I  am  glad  the  thing  touched  you.  I  felt  proud  of 
my  profession,  of  our  men  and  women.  It  was  all  done 
by  the  actors,  and  if  His  spirit  could  see  us,  he  will  know 
what  we  aimed  at. 

Yours  ever, 


I  own  amongst  my  possessions  a  little  terra-cotta 
bust  done  by  Onslow  Ford  as  a  preparatory  study  for 
the  big  statue  of  Irving  as  Hamlet,  which  now  stands 
in  the  Guildhall.  It  had  not  been  quite  decided 
whether  the  figure  should  be  bareheaded  or  possessed 
of  a  hat,  and  this  shows  Irving  in  a  hat  with  battle- 
mented  brim,  which  had  fallen  to  some  destruction  ; 
when  I  told  Sir  Thomas  Brock  of  my  distress  at  this 
mishap,  to  my  great  joy  he  wrote  to  me  : 

"  I  will  with  pleasure  repair  the  little  terra-cotta 
bust  if  you  will  send  it  round. " 

If  self-consciousness  can  be  possessed  of  clay, 
how  proud  that  little  bust  should  feel  to  have  been 
fashioned  by  Onslow  Ford,  R.A.,  and  repaired  by 
Sir  Thos.  Brock,  K.C.B. 


Another  letter  I  cherish  from  Sir  Thomas  Brock 
reads  : 


I  fully  intended  to  ask  you  to  pay  a  visit  to  the 
Queen  Victoria  Memorial  before  the  scaffolding  was 
removed,  but  the  weather  was  so  unfavourable  that  I 
felt  sure  you  would  not  care  to  risk  the  chance  of 
taking  a  severe  chill.  Even  my  clerk  of  works,  tough 
as  he  is,  succumbed,  and  had  to  keep  to  his  bed  for 
several  weeks.  Fortunately  I  escaped. 

I  am  sending  you  these  few  lines  to  say  that  I  shall 
be  at  the  Memorial  on  Tuesday  next  at  12.30,  and  if 
you  can  spare  time  to  call  then,  shall  be  delighted  to 
walk  round  the  work  with  you,  and  to  hear  what  you 
think  of  it  all. 

Yours  sincerely, 


Kindly  Sir  Thomas  !  I  am  the  richer  through  his 
generosity  by  a  landscape  painted  in  France  by  one  of 
his  sons,  and  a  life-like  presentment  of  his  own  fine 
head  drawn  by  another. 

At  the  time  of  the  death  of  my  sister  Julia  many 
wonderful  letters  came  to  me  which  I  purposely  sup- 
press, but  I  gaze  proudly  at  some  lines  by  Mrs.  Belloc 
Lowndes  when  referring  to  her  last  book,  Twilight. 


"  Not  perhaps  since  Henry  James  gave  us  the  in- 
imitable Daisy  Miller  has  modern  fiction  presented  the 
character  of  a  woman  so  sensitive,  so  innately  innocent 
in  her  faults  and  weaknesses,  so  inevitably  tragic  in 
her  fate  as  the  heroine  of  this  book,  Margaret  Capel. 


ONE   OF   THE    FIRST    STUDIES    BY   E.    ONSLOW    FORD,    R.A. , 

To  face  page  222 



It  is  the  finest  thing  Frank  Danby  has  done  by  all 

And  another  tribute  from  Arnold  Bennett : 

"  She  was  a  most  stimulating  and  vital  woman.  I 
had  much  admiration  for  her.  She  had  many  facets 
upon  which  the  light  glinted.  It  is  impossible  that 
some  day,  sooner  or  later,  her  personality  should  not 
form  the  basis  of  a  character  in  fiction." 

I  have  often  written  in  the  Daily  Telegraph,  and 
have  frequently  been  in  a  way  connected  with  it,  and 
I  read  now  with  some  entertainment  an  old  certificate 
of  merit  from  headquarters  which  runs  : 

"  The  Hon.  Mr.  Lawson  is  very  much  pleased  with 
Mrs.  Aria's  work  and  will  be  glad  if  she  covers  all  the 
things  she  suggests,  after  of  course  due  notice  to 
Mr.  Le  Sage." 

We  do  not  exactly  do  these  things  now  in  newspaper 

Besides  affection  with  correspondence  to  prove  it,  I 
have  collected  substantial  evidence  that  my  unworthi- 
ness  has  been  well  rewarded.  Do  I  not  own  the 
original  of  the  silver  casket  all  set  with  rubies  and 
emeralds  from  which  the  stage  carpenter  at  the  Lyceum 
Theatre  made  copy  to  serve  in  the  famous  scene  with 
Portia  and  her  wooers  ? 

There  was  once  a  bereaved  husband  who  resented 
the  perpetual  recollection  of  his  wife,  fostered  by  her 
personal  belongings  which  were  enshrined  in  their 

"  I  can't  forget  her,"  he  complained  to  his  friend, 
"  everything  reminds  me  of  her  ;  what  shall  I  do  ?  " 


The  friend,  who  had  the  conscience  of  a  dealer  in 
works  of  art,  replied  relentlessly,  with  one  business  eye 
on  a  Sheraton  bureau  and  another  on  a  genuine 
"  Tanagra  "  : 

;<  Sell  the  lot,  obliterate  all  trace  of  her,  that's  the 
way,  my  boy." 

But  there  is  to  me  some  special  charm  in  being  near 
the  things  which  have  been  owned  by  those  I  loved. 
I  like  to  touch  the  chairs  they  have  touched,  to  look  at 
the  pictures  they  have  treasured,  and  I  gloried  in  the 
acquisition  of  the  thick  heavy  silk  which  formed 
Irving's  robe  when  he  played  Wolsey.  It  is  of  a 
bright  cerise  in  corded  quality  and  was  specially  woven 
and  dyed  for  him  in  Italy.  I  am  enriched  also  by  the 
Carrickmacross  flounce  which  Irving  wore  on  the 
tunic  when  he  played  Cardinal  Richelieu  ;  and  Walter 
secured  for  me  the  bandanna  handkerchief  he  carried 
on  the  last  occasion  of  his  appearance  in  The  Bells,  a 
couple  of  nights  before  he  died. 

My  Louis  XV  chandelier  glowed  down  upon  him, 
and  the  old  Chinese  embroidered  portiere  upon  which 
super-teethed  dragons  gleam  at  me  with  hair  and 
tusks  of  thick  golden  thread,  was  once  Irving's  table- 
cloth in  the  Stratton  Street  dining-room,  while  he  gave 
me  a  back  view  of  a  gleaming  shoulder  and  golden 
head  painted  by  Dudley  Hardy  because  its  gorgeous 
red  drapery  made  righteous  colour  on  my  dark  walls. 

I  have  too  the  pearl  and  diamond  pin  which  Queen 
Victoria  presented  to  Irving  on  the  occasion  of  his  ap- 
pearing at  Windsor  Castle  in  Becket,  and  in  my  sitting- 
room  are  disposed  a  dozen  or  more  pieces  of  furniture 
and  ornaments  which  I  bought  at  the  sale  at  Christie's, 
whence  alack  !  his  Dante  bust  departed  for  the  States. 


I  have  his  enormous  carved  mirror  into  which  I  now 
cast  my  reflections  of  the  past  and  the  present,  whilst 
I  look  beyond  into  a  future  when  I  may  again  meet, 
bereft  of  all  weakness,  those  I  have  best  beloved. 

Ever  I  feel  it  monstrous  for  biographers  of  dead 
heroes  to  lay  emphasis  upon  any  physical  infirmity 
which  fate  or  age  may  have  brought  to  them.  I  don't 
want  to  read  that  Gladstone  in  his  senility  whimpered 
for  more  butter  on  his  bread.  I  resent  being  asked  to 
consider  Swinburne  as  an  epileptic,  Rossetti  as  ab- 
normally thirsty,  George  Meredith  as  deaf,  and  Robert 
Louis  Stevenson  fighting  haemorrhage.  Incurable 
sentimentalism  this  may  be,  but  I  would  not  have  my 
eagles  bereft  of  a  single  feather,  and  I  am  convinced 
no  good  purpose  is  served  by  the  revelation  of  every 
ache  and  ailment  which  accompanied  their  flight  to 

No  living  writer  ever  spoke  more  tenderly  of  an 
illustrious  dead  than  James  Barrie  when  he  wrote  that 
little  memorial  pamphlet  in  honour  of  George  Meredith. 
I  can  almost  remember  it  without  reference.  The 
empty  coach  which  rolled  up  to  the  graveyard,  while 
the  spirits  of  his  heroes  and  heroines  stood  round  the 
empty  door  at  Box  Hill.  And  the  grey  figure  revived 
to  youth,  taking  his  trusty  staff  to  stroll  up  the  hill  to 
be  met  at  the  top  by  Robert  Louis  Stevenson  ;  a 
memorable  fancy  beautifully  worthy  of  its  inspiration. 

On  consideration  I  really  believe  that  the  two  letters 
which  I  have  received  to  excite  most  surprise  from  me 
came  from  Marie  Lloyd  and  George  Meredith.  Ye 
gods  !  what  a  juxtaposition  !  and  I  hope  that  I  am  not 
placed  thus  under  Meredith's  ban,  "  Horribly  will  I 
haunt  the  man  who  dares  to  make  a  Memoir  of  me." 


But  ladies  first,  I  must  quote  Marie  Lloyd's  note 
which  came  to  me  in  reply  to  a  request  that  I  might 
publish  her  photograph  in  The  World  of  Dress. 

"  Madam  Aria  has  my  permission  to  use  my  photo 
in  her  edition  of  The  World  of  Dress. — MARIE  LLOYD." 

The  note  from  George  Meredith  inspired  by  a  like 
request : 

"  DEAR  SIR, 

I  see  no  reason  that  my  portrait  should  appear 
in  your  magazine.  GEORGE  MEREDITH<» 

But  this  demand  had  been  made  during  the  time  I  was 
compiling  The  May  Book  in  aid  of  the  Charing  Cross 
Hospital,  with  the  generous  assistance  of  William 

The  advisory  board  suggested  it  would  add  con- 
siderably to  the  volume  if  it  were  illustrated  by  por- 
traits of  every  author  and  artist  who  had  lent  aid. 
The  contents  held  many  contributions  from  the  most 
prominently  worthy  ;  few  had  said  "No,"  and  my 
acquaintance  with  the  notable  had  grown  rapidly,  to 
include  Henry  James,  in  these  days  a  bearded  Henry 
James,  whom  I  had  neighboured  at  a  dinner-party. 
My  first  impression  of  the  author  of  What  Maine  Knew 
which  I  had  just  then  finished  reading,  was  definitely 
antagonistic,  for  he  was  denouncing  actors  and  the 
theatre  and  the  play-going  public,  induced  to  such 
blameful  outlook  by  the  reception  given  long  ago  to 
his  play  Guy  Domville. 

And  although  I  knew  he  was  perfectly  right,  yet  the 
fine  flower  of  my  faith  in  the  stage  refused  to  fade 


until  I  came  under  the  sway  of  his  eloquence  whilst  I 
hearkened  to  the  perfect  poetry  of  his  language  which 
illuminated  at  some  length  a  sunset  and  a  twilight  in 
the  Italy  he  loved.  It  was  one  of  his  smaller  stories 
of  Italy  which  he  gave  me  the  privilege  to  use  in  The 
May  Book,  where  also  I  produced  a  poem  by  Sarah 
Grand,  whom  I  knew  at  the  time  of  her  triumph 
with  The  Heavenly  Twins  ;  some  forgotten  criticisms 
of  Edmund  Kean  by  H.  B.  Irving,  a  fairy  story  by 
Evelyn  Sharp,  and  many  pictures  from  many  famous 

I  gained  some  insight  into  the  joy  of  the  prose  writer 
when  committing  poetry  ;  so  many  accredited  in  the 
one  path  wandered  with  pleasure  into  the  other,  and 
my  chapters  contained  poems  not  only  by  George 
Meredith,  but  by  Thomas  Hardy,  Israel  Zangwill, 
Robert  Hichens,  Marie  Corelli  and  Gilbert  Parker, 
with  the  more  legitimate  song  by  John  Davidson,  whose 
Ballad  of  a  Nun  had  made  unforgettable  mark  upon  my 

I  had  known  John  Davidson  well,  and  the  sad  story 
of  his  troubles,  and  the  saddest  ending  of  them  when 
off  some  wild  coast  of  Cornwall  he  stepped  into  the 
deep  waters  of  consolation. 

Faithfully  I  have  consulted  Lady  Wyndham  as  to 
whether  the  following  extract  from  a  letter  from  Sir 
Charles  should  appear,  and  she  assures  me  she  con- 
siders it  would  be  most  ungracious  to  ignore  such 
words  from  such  a  man. 

"  Did  I  ever  tell  you  you  were  an  angel.  If  not,  and 
you  did  not  see  I  felt  it,  you  must  have  been  lacking 
in  discernment. — CHARLES  WYNDHAM." 


How  wrong  of  me  to  forget  which  special  act  of 
mine  was  thus  commended  !  but  I  suspect  it  had  some 
connection  with  Miss  Mary  Moore,  now  regarded 
respectfully  as  his  most  admirable  successor,  as  Presi- 
dent of  the  Actors'  Benevolent  Fund,  beneath  whose 
gracious  auspices  I  dined  this  year  in  the  company 
of  all  that  is  brightest,  best  and  most  charitable  in  my 
favourite  world  of  the  profession. 



"  "^f  yP^OUR    heart    must    be    a    very    crowded 

|[        thoroughfare,"    calculated    an    American 

JL       whilst  he  sat  with  me  after  I  had  rehearsed 

to  him  a  few  of  these  reminiscences  which  were  then 

in  preparation  for  their  appearance. 

I  suspect  that  he  was  right,  but  I  have  confessed 
candidly  to  sentiment  as  my  personal  weakness,  and  it 
is  as  hard  as  unnecessary  to  deny  the  wide  spread  of 
my  interest  in  much  and  many  I  deem  fit  for  admira- 
tion. Why  should  I  play  the  policeman  and  demand 
anyone  who  attracts  me  to  "  pass  along,  please  "  ? 

I  have  had  my  occasional  lapses  from  the  leisured 
many,  having  suffered  a  few  super-laborious  years 
when  the  finance  see-saw  landed  me  at  up  and  down 
points,  which  I  hope  I  concealed  as  I  zealously  en- 
deavoured. I  suppose  though  my  success  in  this 
direction  could  not  have  been  as  absolute  as  I  flattered 
myself,  for  one  day  in  the  long  ago  when  I  was  in  an 
omnibus  and  moved  to  pity  at  the  exhausted,  tired 
face  of  a  poorly  clad  opposite  neighbour,  I  tendered 
her  a  shilling  with  the  suggestion  that  she  might  like 
something  to  drink,  whilst  I  apologised  with  a  kindly  : 

"  You  look  rather  done  up." 

"  Ah  !  yes,"  she  replied,  wiping  her  hot  face,  "  it's 
'ard  work  washing  counterpanes,  ain't  it  ?  " 



That "  ain't  it  "  was  rather  destructive  to  my  vanity, 
but  nevertheless  gave  me  an  excuse  for  smiling,  never 
unacceptable  to  me. 

Somehow  I  do  not  convey  the  right  impression  in  a 
bus,  and  this  was  proved  to  me  again  last  year  after  I 
had  attended  a  pseudo-political  meeting  in  the  garden 
of  Lord  Leverhulme  who  had  made  special  arrange- 
ments that  public  conveyances  should  duly  remove 
all  his  friends,  failing  in  their  possession  of  motor- 

'Plaining  the  dearth  of  taxis,  I  sat  in  a  corner 
opposite  to  a  rubicund-visaged  gentleman  from  York- 
shire. He  addressed  me  with  all  familiarity  : 

"  I  haven't  been  in  London  these  three  years,  but 
you  used  to  be  able  to  get  trains  at  Hampstead  ?  " 

I  looked  up  at  him  with  the  alert  interest  which  a 
stranger  always  excites  in  me,  and  I  persisted  : 

"  But  I  want  a  taxi." 

"  Well,  mum,"  he  said,  drawing  a  red  handkerchief 
over  his  damp  head,  "  you're  wrong,  you  should  save 
your  money,  and  buy  a  quart." 

It  has  been  suggested,  by  the  way,  that  I  over-act 
my  part  of  laughing  philosopher,  but  I  have  deter- 
mined to  remain  unrepentant  of  my  deep-rooted 
inclination  towards  mirth  rather  than  towards  melan- 

Few  jests  escape  my  easy  beam,  but  I  refused  even 
a  glint  when  a  callous  victim  to  the  cigarette  habit 
declined  to  attend  her  aged  stepmother's  funeral 
because  the  graveyard  bore  the  notice,  "  Smoking 
strictly  prohibited."  Death  is  no  topic  for  merriment, 
however  little  missed  may  be  the  missing. 

Ah  !   me,  my  well-beloved  family  has  dwindled  to 


two,  and  sternly  forbidding  myself  the  sad  retrospect, 
I  compare  its  record  with  that  of  the  ten  little  nigger 
boys,  and  prophesy  its  end,  "  And  then  there  was 


Florrie,  all  unrebuked,  may  yet  wear  the  mantle 
of  authorship,  though  upon  her  shoulders  it  may  prove 
super-ample,  some  youngster  from  her  stock  may 
arise  labelled  "  for  literature,"  to  deplore  in  due  and 
proper  course  the  "  awful  tosh  "  his  predecessors 

However,  I  have  enjoyed  much,  and  can  chronicle 
only  now  as  abiding  wants  a  pillar-box  exactly  opposite 
my  house  and  a  fine  grandchild  upon  the  top 

I  labour  less  and  always  less,  and  gladly  remember 
that  happiness  at  this  chance  was  a  failing  of  my  earliest 
youth,  when  at  my  busiest  and  most  tired  I  would  ask 
Julia  to  inscribe  upon  my  tombstone,  planned  to  be  of 
the  shape  of  a  folded  newspaper,  a  perversion  of  the  old 
charwoman's  epitaph  : 

"  Weep  for  me  not,  weep  for  me  never, 
I'm  going  to  write  nothing  for  ever  and  ever." 

Meanwhile  I  sit  at  my  window  in  Regent's  Park 
watching  the  rounded  corner  of  the  adjacent  terrace 
for  the  gallant  stride  of  Dorothea  Irving,  who  comes 
almost  daily  from  her  house  a  few  yards  distant,  to 
voice  some  fine  scheme  for  the  betterment  of  baby- 
land,  upon  which  I  advise  as  volubly  as  if  I  were 
amongst  the  initiated  in  all  the  mysteries  of  mother- 

Unless  some  luncheon  party  or  matinee  invites  me 
to  greater  activity  outside  my  gates,  I  pass  my  time  in 


embroidering  frocks  for  the  little  ones  and  trimming 
hats  for  the  girls,  and  I  like  to  read  all  the  newest 
books,  determined  to  prefer  them  to  the  older  ones, 
so  that  I  may  escape  the  accusation  invariably  hurled 
at  the  upholders  of  the  past. 

Of  course  I  pretend  to  be  much  younger  than  I  am, 
so  that  the  already  due  announcement  of  my  fifty-fifth 
birthday  will  be  greeted  by  "  Not  really." 

I  am  conscious  that  I  am  rapidly  becoming  amongst 
treats  or  penances  to  the  younger  generation,  which 
does  not  even  knock  at  my  door  but  walks  straight  in, 
and  I  laugh  that  "  kissing  me  is  a  national  pastime 
almost  as  popular  as  football,"  while  of  course 
I  am  very  proud  the  youngsters  are  not  bored 
by  me. 

"  Tommy,  if  you  are  not  a  good  boy  I  shall  put  you 
into  the  Irving  troupe,"  a  poor  distracted  mother  was 
heard  to  threaten  whilst  on  board  with  Irving  crossing 
over  to  New  York. 

Mothers  and  aunts  and  guardians  amiably  promise, 
"  If  you  are  a  good  boy  or  a  good  girl  you  shall  have 
tea  with  Mrs.  Aria  during  the  holidays." 

I  am  a  place  of  entertainment,  a  point  of  pilgrimage 
like  St.  Paul's,  Westminster  Abbey  or  the  Zoological 
Gardens,  and  I  enjoy  the  fun  of  being  so  regarded, 
while  I  hope  I  keep  up  the  righteous  standard  of 
supply  of  sweets,  illustrated  books  and  puzzles  proper 
to  the  state  of  a  universal  great-aunt. 

Which  is  the  relationship  I  own  actually  to  one 
sunny-faced  Stephen,  grandson  of  that  sister  Ellen  I 
mentioned  on  my  first  pages,  and  I  suspect  him  of 
heading  straight  for  intellectual  honours  which  may 
i  nscribe  him  on  the  family  roll  of  fame.  I  know  it  is 


amongst  my  pleasures  to  take  him  to  the  theatre,  and 
although  his  shrieks  of  mirth  at  Charley's  Aunt  make 
the  jolliest  music  to  my  ears,  I  recognise  more  proudly 
that  some  discrimination  went  to  his  comment  on 

"  It's  very  well  to  blame  Macbeth,"  he  had  said, 
wagging  his  golden  head  sagaciously,  "  but  it  was  all 
Mrs.  Macbeth 's  fault."  Oh  wise  young  judge  ! 

Even  while  I  enjoy  the  constant  companionship 
of  my  devoted  daughter,  early  widowed,  and  but  now 
recovering  from  her  too  strenuous  National  Service, 
I  am  sometimes  perplexed  at  the  thought  of  the  best 
employment  for  the  remaining  portion  of  my  life, 
and  some  infallible  means  to  satisfy  my  unquench- 
able desire  to  be  amused — my  low  ambition  to  be 

Perhaps  as  an  act  of  grace  after  meals — I  have  had 
many  splendid  banquets  of  fun — I  shall  found  a  home 
for  disillusioned  diarists,  who,  having  heard  of  the 
vast  fortune  acquired  by  Mrs.  Asquith,  have  rushed 
headlong  into  reminiscences.  I  shall  invite  this 
miscreant-in-chief  to  subscribe,  for  I  met  her  once  at 
Downing  Street  when  her  brilliant  young  daughter, 
Elizabeth,  Princess  Bibesco,  had  in  aid  of  some  good 
cause  recited  "If,"  which  was  then  an  epidemic  hard 
to  avoid  in  any  language  at  any  entertainment,  whilst 
a  parody  of  it  also  afforded  some  opportunity  for 

Mrs.  Asquith  and  I  had  sat  together  to  enjoy  a 
cigarette  whilst  I  took  the  opportunity  of  congratulating 
her,  as  the  wife  of  a  Prime  Minister,  on  the  courage 
and  wisdom  which  had  gone  to  her  unpopular  invita- 
tion to  Poiret,  king  of  the  French  world  of  dress,  to 

Q  2 


come  over  here  to  design  and  display  clothes.  During 
that  period  the  entente  cordiale  was  more  preached 
than  practised,  but  none  can  deny  that  individuality 
goes  to  the  costumes  of  Mrs.  Asquith,  and  that  she 
never  fails  to  look  unlike  others,  which  is,  after  all,  a 
difficult  task  when  no  steamboat  or  airship  arrives 
without  a  consignment  of  models  from  the  other 
side  ;  and  there  is  perennial  magic  in  the  word 

From  a  faithful  follower  comes  just  now  a  disturbing 
line  :  "I  know  your  weaknesses,  and  I  hear  you  are 
writing  a  book.  I  beseech  you  not  to  make  it  too 

How  impossible  that  it  should  be  otherwise  !  How 
can  I  write  spitefully  about  my  friends,  and  I  never 
see  my  enemies  if  I  recognise  them,  being  unlike  the 
Irishman  who,  after  a  bloodthirsty  round  with  a 
fellow-citizen,  was  seen  talking  to  him  in  Merrion 

;<  I  thought  you  two  were  not  on  good  terms,"  said 
a  mutual  acquaintance,  to  receive  answer  : 

"  I  hate  the  fellow,  but  if  I  don't  speak  to  him,  how 
can  I  bust  him  ?  " 

I  plead  guilty  of  a  desire  to  annoy  none,  and  in  the 
spirit  of  Jack  Horner  who  sat  in  the  corner,  convinced 
he  was  a  very  good  boy,  I  gaze  at  the  testimonial  which 
accompanied  an  early  Georgian  knocker  from  Gertrude 
Kingston  : 

"  To  Elia  " — thus  she  always  flatters  me  to  a  kinship 
with  Charles  Lamb — "  at  whose  door  a  friend  has 
never  called  in  vain,  I  dedicate  this  antique  bronze 


To  face  page  234 


How  absurd  in  any  case  to  feel  unkind  towards  my 
intimates,  whom  I  have  chosen  for  the  affection  I  bear 
for  them,  not  for  what  they  do  but  for  what  they  are 
and  what  they  mean  to  me. 

But  since  I  cannot  bear  to  be  contradicted,  in  order 
to  secure  some  few  whom  I  might  reproach,  I  proffered 
a  request  to  an  elect  group,  that  I  should  be  supplied 
with  a  foreword  to  this  book. 

However,  the  attempt  was  not  successful,  but  all 
alike  sent  me  notes  of  satisfaction  at  hearing  of  my 
projected  Memoirs — were  they  sinister  notes  on  the 
lines  of  that  prayer — "  Oh  that  mine  enemy  would 
write  a  book  !  >:  Not  a  bit  like  it,  I  am  convinced  that 
they  were  one  and  all  as  sincere  in  their  good  wishes 
as  they  were  obstinate  in  refraining  from  the  privilege 
I  proposed. 

Hugh  Walpole,  for  example,  whose  rare  company 
and  books  I  enjoy,  and  whose  inscribed  copy  of  The 
Thirteen  Travellers  I  am  proud  to  possess  since  it 
proclaims  him  my  friend,  failed  brilliantly  to  acquiesce 
in  my  plan. 


I'm  honoured  indeed  that  you  should  ask  me 
to  write  a  preface  to  your  memoirs.  Honoured  but 
surprised.  I,  one  of  the  heaviest  tirading  sons  of  a 
parson,  to  write  a  foreword  to  what  must  be  one  of  the 
lightest-footed,  gayest-hearted  and  cynical-eyed  re- 
cords of  our  time.  No,  no,  but  thank  you  for  asking 
me.  I  must  be  friskier  than  I  had  supposed. 

Yours  always, 



Arnold  Bennett  gave  me  a  less  encouraging  reply  : 


Your  letter  catches  me  at  the  moment  of  leaving 
England.  I  should  love  to  oblige  you,  but  I  have  sworn 
off  all  forewords.  Moreover,  I  think  they  do  more 
harm  than  good.  Moreover,  your  Memoirs  will  be  so 
amusing,  malicious  and  first-rate  that  they  will  require 
no  aid.  Excuse  me. 

Yours  sincerely, 


W.  L.  George  is  more  hopeful  in  his  : 

"  There  is  an  old  saying  that  it  is  unwise  to  take 
coals  to  Newcastle  ;  an  obvious  parallel  is  that  it  is 
undesirable  to  take  introductions  to  the  introducer. 
You  are  so  ideally  fitted  to  introduce  yourself,  and  you 
are  so  much  more  likely  to  make  a  good  impression, 
that  I  will  ask  you  to  allow  me  to  refuse  to  have  any- 
thing to  do  with  foisting  you  upon  the  public.  I  am 
sure  that  it  will  not  resist  this  foisting,  if  it  is  wise  .  .  . 
but  hush  !  This  is  beginning  to  turn  into  an  intro- 
duction after  all." 

H.  G.  Wells  is  characteristically  flattering  ;  but 
I  have  already  quoted  his  decision. 

"  No  prefaces,  Darling.  Beauty  unadorned  is 
adorned  the  most.  Love. — H.  G." 

I  am  of  so  amiable  a  spirit  that  I  will  forgive  George 
Moore  for  an  attitude  which  seemed  to  me  at  best  to  be 
unsympathetic.  I  will  grant  unto  him  the  respect  he 
desires,  bowing  to  his  objection  to  having  his  letters 
published  in  "  such  a  light  narrative  "  as  mine.  What 
a  sweet  spirit  of  forbearance  do  I  display  in  my  com- 


To  face  page  236 


plete  pardon  of  him,  for  his  letters  were  quite  discreet, 
and  I  have  in  my  memory  a  suspicion  that  once  he  was 
not  very  keenly  sensitive  to  the  feelings  of  some 
distinguished  in  the  tanks  of  literary  Ireland. 

I  turn,  however,  with  complete  satisfaction  from  his 
peevish  protests  to  the  thought  of  that  fellow-country- 
man of  his,  St.  John  Ervine,  whom  I  might  well  envy 
the  pointed  pen  which  he  digs  into  the  sensitive 
nerves  of  all  the  worst  actors  and  turns  to  rend  merci- 
lessly a  few  dramatists  he  may  disapprove. 

As  a  matter  of  fact  he  is  one  of  the  few  dramatic 
critics  I  have  known  since  Clement  Scott  died,  who 
really  likes  his  job.  Most  of  the  others  condescend  to 
it,  yawning  themselves  in  and  out  of  their  stalls,  suffer- 
ing their  self-sought  tasks  sadly,  never  failing  to  men- 
tion the  hurry  of  their  dinner  or  the  delay  of  their 
supper.  William  Archer  and  J.  T.  Grein  may  yet  be 
marked  enthusiasts. 

But  St.  John  Ervine  frankly  enjoys  the  theatre, 
deems  it  of  high  consequence,  and  is  pleased  to  have 
chance  to  report  well  on  it. 

A  very  popular  and  beautiful  actress  who  sometimes 
does  her  work  very  carelessly  wrote  to  him  reproaching 
him  for  the  condemnation  of  her  art  in  a  clever  play. 
She  said  she  had  a  high  position  on  the  stage  and  was 
entitled  to  be  treated  with  respect  by  him. 

His  reply  was  she  would  get  his  respect  when  she 
had  earned  it. 

It  was  he  who  said  of  Mrs.  Patrick  Campbell's  Lady 
Macbeth,  when  James  K.  Hackett  revived  this  tragedy 
at  the  Aldwych,  that  "  Mrs.  Campbell  must  have  stayed 
at  home  and  sent  Mrs.  Cornwallis  West  in  her  place." 

No  one  would  have  enjoyed  this  quip  as  much  as 


Mrs.  Patrick  Campbell,  who  has  a  quaint  sense  of 
humour,  and  once  in  the  long  ago  greeted  me  at  the 
Savoy  grill  room  : 

"  Who  are  you,  I  know  your  face,  but  I  cannot 
remember  your  name.  Tell  me  your  name/' 

"  Absurd,  I  am  the  oldest  inhabitant  of  the  stalls, 
the  lady  Methuselah  on  the  mat  at  the  Box  Offices, 
and  as  well  known  as  the  Tower  of  London. " 

"  Well,  if  you  won't  say  who  you  are  I  shall  be  sure 
you  are  Mrs.  C.  S.,  or  Bloody  Mary." 

But  to  continue  the  review  of  my  personal  surround- 
ings, I  am  happy  to  own  that  it  would  be  hard  for  me 
not  to  say  something  nice  about  Janet  Courtney, 
wife  of  W.  L.,  learned  and  accomplished  lady,  whom  I 
admire  for  her  tolerance  of  my  frivolity,  for  her  ad- 
mirable eloquence  and  for  her  rare  virtue  of  a  whole- 
hearted sincerity,  all  inducing  me  to  forgive  her  one 
vice,  an  inalienable  attachment  to  a  snorting  Pekingese. 

At  least  another  two  dozen  would  I  add  to  my  roll 
of  good-fellowship,  but  it  is  obvious  that  I  cannot 
enumerate  all.  Yet  I  would  not  omit  Cunninghame 
Graham,  whose  grace  of  movement  equals  his  grace 
of  words,  who  looks  like  some  old  grandee,  and  bears 
upon  him  the  indelible  marks  of  race  and  culture  ;  nor 
can  I  forget  Mrs.  Theodore  McKenna,  whose  kindness 
to  those  in  trouble  is  proverbial. 

Neither  can  I  leave  out  beautiful  Beatrice  Hackett ; 
although  but  recently  my  friend,  she  is  a  most  welcome 


"  Who  runs  to  help  me  when  I'm  ill, 
And  does  my  treasured  vases  fill  " 

with  the  most  beautiful  flowers  ;  few  indeed  more 
beautiful  than  she  herself,  who  owns  a  gentleness 


of  voice,  a  bloom  of  skin,  a  slenderness  of  ankle  and 
wrist  to  gratify  my  senses  with  those  rare  furs  and  soft 
laces  and  full  drooping  feathers  she  usually  affects. 

Then  I  must  add  Mrs.  Dummett,  the  best  of  host- 
esses, never  tired  of  proving  this  at  luncheons  and 
tea-parties,  which  manage  to  entice  the  most  worthy 
and  entertaining,  who  inhabit  the  upper  stratum  of  our 
ever  dear  Bohemia. 

And  I  would  chronicle  amongst  my  "  lookers-in  " 
Gladys  Unger,  writer  of  plays,  married  to  the  Persian 
poet  Ardarschir ;  she  is  a  bright  and  clever  creature, 
and  amongst  the  few  women  dramatists  who  prosper  ; 
and  Gladys  Cooper,  radiant  figure,  all  too  seldom 
present,  since  she  lives  persistently  in  the  country,  yet 
as  a  lover  of  sweetness  and  light  I  am  glad  she  lives 
anywhere  ;  or  Amy  Brandon  Thomas,  again  a  beautiful 
woman,  and  daughter  of  two  old  friends. 

It  would  appear  as  I  recall  them  that  most  of  my 
friends  have  attained  artistic  success  in  some  branch  or 
another,  even  the  soldiers  and  sailors  I  know  bear  some 
blushing  or  unblushing  honour  upon  them,  but  neither 
the  military  nor  the  naval  gent  affects  my  company 
much,  except  perhaps  Lieut. -Colonel  H.  D.  Foulkes, 
who  is  an  habitue  here,  as  an  old  friend  of  my  son-in-law. 
I  never  see  him  without  visualising  the  romantic, almost 
Biblical,  circumstance  of  his  meeting  with  my  daughter 
in  Nigeria,  where  deeming  her  ill-nourished  upon  tinned 
food  he  sent  her  from  the  State  where  he  ruled  a  whole 
flock  of  sheep  and  a  lamb  new  born  on  their  journey. 

I  shake  my  head  again  ;  it  grows  every  moment 
more  impracticable  that  idea  that  I  should  be  male- 
volent. Away  with  it,  and  the  counsel  of  imperfection 
which  proposed  it. 


In  what  adverse  spirit  could  I  write  of  the  two 
Vanbrughs.  I  now  see  them  seldom,  but  I  have  known 
them  for  many  years.  My  last  meeting  with  Violet 
Vanbrugh  was  at  the  remarkable  gathering  of  actors 
and  actresses  assembled  at  the  opening  of  the  theatre 
attached  to  the  Dramatic  Academy  founded  by  Tree. 
The  ceremony  was  well  graced  by  His  Royal  Highness 
the  Prince  of  Wales,  who  dispensed  his  magnetic 
personal  charm  alike  upon  his  speech  and  upon  his 
subsequent  converse  with  Ellen  Terry  and  Lady  Hare. 
It  was  upon  that  occasion  that  we  had  the  first  pre- 
sentation of  Sir  James  Barrie 's  one-act  play,  Shall  we 
Join  the  Ladies  ?  and  what  a  good  play  it  is  !  Here's 
to  its  extension,  long  overdue. 

I  have  only  met  Sir  James  Barrie  once  or  twice  in 
my  life.  He  has  a  very  detached  and  silent  manner, 
which  makes  me  feel  it  would  be  very  unseemly  to 
interrupt  his  thoughts,  and  that  he  can  sit  quiescent 
during  a  rehearsal  of  his  own  work,  I  know,  for  I  saw  him 
thus  unemployed,  whilst  H.  B.  Irving  was  rehearsing 
The  Professor's  Love  Story,  and  Fay  Compton,  looking 
adorably  pink  and  pretty,  was  enacting  heroine,  a  task 
she  undertook  for  Barrie  triumphantly  in  Mary  Rose 
and  in  Quality  Street. 

Sir  Arthur  W.  Pinero,  especially  associated  in  my 
mind  with  Irene  Vanbrugh,  who  scored  so  con- 
spicuously in  his  Gay  Lord  Quex,  Letty,  and  His  House 
in  Order,  I  have  always  secretly  adored  since  the  days 
when  Irving,  after  his  severe  illness  in  Glasgow,  was 
about  to  produce  Robespierre.  He  wrote  then  offering 
him  all  his  services  at  rehearsals,  thinking  thus  to  save 
Irving  much  fatigue. 

I  travelled  recently  with  Irene  Vanbrugh  from  the 


SKETCHED   FROM    MY   WINDOW   BY   C.    R.    W.    NEVINSON. 

To  face  page  240 


river  ways,  when  her  arms  were  filled  with  dogs  and 
eggs  and  flowers,  all  offered  to  me  freely,  and  accepted 
gratefully  minus  the  dogs. 

Having  shaken  my  head  decidedly  at  the  proposition 
to  blame  anybody  I  like,  I  may  proceed  gaily  to  pat 
them  all  on  the  shoulders  with  one  pat  more  for  Gerald 
Lawrence  and  his  wife,  the  former  having  been  Irving 's 
leading  man  during  his  last  years,  and  quite  the  best 
amateur  chauffeur  I  gratefully  entrust  myself  to,  and 
the  latter,  Fay  Davis,  an  excellent  actress. 

I  threatened  in  my  first  chapter  I  could  set  down 
naught  in  malice,  and  I  have  come  up  to  my  estimate, 
and  will  again  in  record  of  two  more  appreciated 
friends  "  in  the  brush  trade  "  ;  of  Fred  Stratton,  who 
is  spiritual  and  imaginative  while  varying  his  subjects 
from  the  kingdom  of  the  Divine  to  a  land  of  fairy 
fancies  in  sunlit  woods,  and  C.  R.  W.  Nevinson, 
who  would  come  often  to  sit  with  me  in  my 
spacious  flat  in  Fitzroy  Square  where  I  mischiev- 
ously rejoiced  if  a  not-quite-right  omniscient  looked 
round  the  walls  up  to  the  high  ceiling  to  pro- 
nounce upon  "  the  wonderful  dignity  attaching  to  the 
eighteenth-century  work  of  the  Adam  Brothers." 

The  last  time  my  sister  Julia  ever  went  out  was  to 
inspect  that  room  which  I  had  hung  with  black 
watered  paper.  Asking  her  opinion  upon  this  as  a 
background  to  gold-framed  pictures,  she  smiled  in- 
dulgently with,  "  I  like  it  very  much,  it  reminds  me  of 
court  sticking  plaster." 

C.  R.  W.  Nevinson  loved  that  room,  but  he  knew  well 
it  was  not  the  work  of  Adam  Bros.  He  knows  most 
things  in  the  world  of  art  does  "  Richard, "  including 
the  best  method  to  introduce  the  catalogues  of  his 


shows,  and  he  approved  the  apartment  thoroughly, 
mostly  for  a  view  it  granted  him  of  an  opposite  corner 
which  undoubtedly  did  owe  its  existence  to  the  Adam 
Bros.  Here  at  the  window  he  stood  one  day  to  do 
honour  to  a  building  he  liked  especially.  I  scarcely 
dare  to  reproduce  his  typical  sketch,  since  I  know  him 
supremely  exacting,  and  I  am  also  aware  that  he  did 
the  thing  for  me  just  hurriedly  in  a  few  moments, 
when  he  was  most  amiably  disposed.  He  is  not  always 
quite  amiably  disposed,  has  a  grievance  or  so  against 
international  dealings,  will  denounce  France  as  "  the 
cocotte  of  Europe/'  and  America  as  a  "  hag-ridden 
country  of  plumbers/' 

Yet  C.  R.  W.  Nevinson  is  a  great  favourite  of  mine, 
and  I  have  much  regard  for  his  pretty  wife,  who  looks 
like  the  daughter  of  some  Norse  king,  very  fearless  in 
her  glance,  with  pale  hair  and  high  cheek  bones,  and 
much  activity  to  her  movements. 

Stephen  McKenna  is  of  the  authors  I  regard 
affectionately,  and  I  shall  set  him  a  little  apart,  as 
indeed  he  has  set  himself,  in  his  courteous  reply  to  my 
proposition  that  he  should  introduce  this  volume. 
But  not  only  by  reason  of  that  is  he  set  somewhat  apart, 
his  work  is  a  little  unlike  that  of  other  novelists  by 
reason  of  its  humour  and  its  concentration  on  a  dashing 
note  of  society  peculiar  to  these  times. 

His  Sonia  and  Barbara  are  creations  and  recreations. 

Yet  while  I  reflect  seriously  upon  Stephen 
McKenna 's  special  talent  for  presenting  the  ultra- 
modern girl,  I  rejoice  that  nothing  of  her  goes  to  the 
making  of  my  dear  Elizabeth  Irving,  and  I  remember 
a  letter  from  her  father,  written  during  a  holiday 
time  : 


To  face  page  242 


"  Whenever  I  look  at  that  child  I  am  reminded  of 
the  beautiful  things  you  have  said  of  her,  and  that  it  is 
my  duty  to  keep  her  worthy.  Bless  you. — H." 

Elizabeth  is  pre-eminently  worthy  of  all  things 
beautiful.  Elizabeth,  straight  from  school  at  the  age 
of  sixteen,  tripped  a  dainty  measure  on  the  boards  as 
Queen  Titania,  looking  like  the  queen  of  all  the  fairies 
in  the  wide  wide  world  of  imagination.  Elizabeth,  a 
slim  joyous  creature  with  a  yard  of  auburn  hair,  is  now 
flirting  with  the  films,  with  dreamful  intervals  of 
Trilby  and  more  realistic  adventure  with  the  O.U.D.S. 
at  Oxford  as  Margrete  in  The  Pretenders.  Perhaps  she 
has  a  far-away  vision  of  herself  in  the  garb  of  Ophelia, 
but  she  does  not  talk  about  this  while  she  sits  on  the 
arm  of  my  chair  in  a  more  serious  consideration  of 
the  importance  of  dancing,  and  the  charms  of  fashion, 
now  and  again  showing  me  glimpses  of  her  higher 
ideals  of  life,  giving  echo  of  those  dreams  spelt  for 
her  in  the  heart  of  her  adored  and  adoring  father. 

But  my  youngest  friend  of  all  is  Pamela  Mary  Irving, 
daughter  of  Laurence  and  Rosalind  Irving,  splendid 
example  of  the  race  to  come  !  Opposite  the  old  mill 
she  lies  now  in  the  garden  of  a  thousand  roses,  crooning 
in  her  perambulator  at  the  apple  blossoms  on  the  old 
tree,  beneath  which  H.  B.  Irving  and  I  have  so  often 
sat  to  talk  of  his  father,  whilst  we  watched  the  mus- 
tering of  the  boats  below  in  the  Harbour  Bay  of 



Aberdeen,  Marquis  of,  109 
Academy,  The  Royal,  42 
Academy  of  Acting,  The  Royal, 

Actors'  Benevolent  Association, 

24,  228 

Adam  Brothers,  The,  241,  242 
Admirable   Crichton,    The,    144, 


Albery,  James,  23,  24 
Alexander,    Sir    George,     141, 

200-205,  221 
Alexander,  Lady,  202 
Alexandra,  Queen,  100,  159 
America,  59,  no,  114,  118,  135, 


Anderson,  Arthur,  17 
Anderson,  David,  92 
Anderson,  Percy,  17 
Ann  Veronica,  174 
Archer,  William,  237 
Aria,  David,  28,  45 
Aristocrat,  The,  203 
Aristotle,  60 
Arnold,  Matthew,  139 
Artist's  Model,  The,  21 
Artists'  Rifle  Association,  41 
Ascot,  42 

Ash  well,  Lena,  127 
Asquith,  Mrs.,  233,  234 
Astor,  Lady,  167 
As  You  Like  It,  154 
Austin,  L.  F.,  141 
Autolycus,  8 

Babe  of  Bohemia,  The,  54 
Bach,  Johann  Sebastian,  97 

Baku,  Governor  of,  49 

Ballad  of  a  Nun,  The,  227 

Barrie,  Sir  James,  O.M.,  240 

Barrymore,  Ethel,  91 

Bat,  The,  7 

Beaconsfield,  Lord,  47 

Beaumont,  Muriel,  184 

Becket,  141,  224 

Beckley,  Beatrice,  163 

Bed  of  Roses,  The,  169 

Beerbohm,  Max,  157 

Beeton,  Mrs.,  61 

Beeton  &  Co.,  Messrs.,  35 

Begbie,  Harold,  160,  180-183 

Belisario,  Miss,  9 

Bells,  The,  101,  103,  155,  224 

Bennett,  Arnold,   35,   36,  219, 

220,  223,  236 
Bennett,  Robert,  210,  211 
Benson,  Sir  Frank,  123,  221 
Bernhardt,  Sarah,  177 
Bibesco,  Elizabeth,  Princess,  233 
Bill  of  Divorcement,  A,  199 
Bismarck,  Prince  Otto  L.  E.  von, 

Black  and  White,  43 

Bland-Sutton,  Lady,  159 

Blight,  191 

Boer  War,  The,  55,  73 

Book  Bills  of  Narcissus,  43 

Bourchier,  Arthur,  152,  179, 187 

Braithwaite,    Lilian,    178,    188, 


British  Museum,  The,  57 
Brock,  Sir  Thomas,   151,   152, 

221,  222 

Brook  Kerith,  The,  195 




Brooke,  Rupert,  2 
Brooks,  Reginald  Shirley,  17 
Brough,  Lionel,  152 
Brough,  Sydney,  25 
Browning,  Robert,  84 
Burnham,  Viscount,  C.H.  (Hon. 

Harry  Lawson),  223 
Butt,  Madame  Clara,  178 

Campbell,    Mrs.    Patrick,    188, 

237,  238 

Captain    Brassbound's    Conver- 
sion, 154 

Carlyle,  Thomas,  7,  46,  52 
Carr,  J.  Corny ns,  132 
Cat  and  the  Cherub,  The,  107 
Cattermole,  George,  100 
Chant,  Mrs.  Ormiston,  43 
Charley's  Aunt,  210,  223 
Christie's,  65,  224 
Church  Army,  The,  181 
Cleveland  Club,  The,  67 
Clough,  Arthur  Hugh,  152 
Coliseum,  The,  76,  202 
College  of  Preceptors,  The,  6 
Collier,  Constance,  177, 178,  181 
Collins,  Arthur,  72,  73,  75 
Collins,  M.  E.,  7 
Compton,  Fay,  240 
Concert  Pitch,  10 
Confession  of  Ursula  Trent,  The, 


Cook,  John,  45 
Cooper,  Sir  Alfred,  123 
Cooper,  Gladys,  239 
Corelli,  Marie,  117,  227 
Coriolanus,  106,  142 
Corlett,  John,  17 
Coue,  fimile,  176 
Court  Circular,  The,  84 
Courtney,  W.  L.,  186-192,  238 
Courtney,  Mrs.  W.  L.,  238 
Co  vent  Garden  Market,  16 
Cowen,  Frederick,  206 
Crossley,  Madame  Ada,  66 
Crawford,  Emily,  211,  212 

Crawfurd,  Oswald,  43 
Cri  du  People,  1 1 
Crime  and  Punishment,  153 
Cuckoo,  The,  17 
Czerny,  Karl,  6,  206 

Daily  Chronicle,  The,  42 
Daily  Graphic,  The,  133 
Daily  Telegraph,  The,  92,  186, 

190,  223 

Daisy  Miller,  222 
Dante,  106,  112,  135,  224 
Davidson,  John,  227 
Davies,  Colonel  Newnham,  17 
Davis,  Fay,  201,  241 
Dear  Brutus,  184 
De  Lara,  Isidore,  93,  205-209 
Diamond  Express,  The,  76 
Dickens,  Charles,  9,  46,  112 
Doctor  Barnardo's  Homes,  181 
Doctor  Phillips,  22,  54,  55,  194 
Dostoieffsky,  Feodore,  153 
Drury   Lane   Theatre,   70,   73, 

141,  221 

Duchess  of  Padua,  The,  112 
Dulac,  Edmund,  208 
Du  Maurier,  George,  184 
Du  Maurier,  Sir  Gerald,  183-185 
Dummett,  Mrs.,  239 

Eadie,  Dennis,  219 

East  Lynne,  95 

Edward,  King,  126,  132,  160 

Edwardes,  George,  106 

Eliot,  George,  46 

Ellis,  Mr.  and  Mrs.  Walter,  84 

Epstein,  Jacob,  213 

Ervine,  St.  John,  237 

Esmond,  H.  V.,  201 

Esther  Waters,  195 

Euripides,  189 

Evans,  Mary,  46 

Express,  The,  218 

Fagan,  James  Bernard,  170-172 
Farquhar,  George,  123 



Farrar,  Dean,  89 

Father,  My,  3-7,  u,  18 

Faust,  136 

Fenner,  Robert,  97 

Floradora,  21 

Foley,  John  Henry,  152 

Forbes-Robertson,    Sir    John  - 

stone,  215,  216 
Ford,  Onslow,  R.A.,  221 
Forster's  Life  of  Charles  Dickens, 


Fortnightly  Review,  The,  190 

Foulkes,  Lt.-Col.  H.  D.,  239 

France,  Anatole,  191 

Frankau,  Arthur,  27 

Frankau  ,  Julia  ('  *  Frank  Danby  "), 
5,  7-12,  15-17,  22,  27,  28,  32, 
33,  54-69,  81,  104,  194,  195, 

Frederick,  The  Empress,  91 

Frith,  W.  P.,  159 

Froude,  James  Anthony,  52 

Fulton,  Mary,  190,  191 

Fussie,  92,  96 

Gaiety  Girl,  The,  21 

Gallienne,  Richard  le,  42,  43 

Garrick  Club,  The,  61 

Gay,  John,  22 

Gay  Lord  Quex,  240 

Geisha,  The,  21 

Gemier,  164 

Gentlewoman,  The,  33 

George,  W.  L.,  161,  168-170, 

Ghosts,  57 

Gilmour,  Mr.,  6,  10 
Girl  from  Kay's,  The,  21 
Girl  of  the  Period,  The,  45 
Gladstone,  W.  E.,  47,  48,  50, 

51,  143,  152,  225 
Glenesk,  Lord,  139 
Gosse,  Edmund,  C.B.,  193 
Graham,  R.  B.   Cunninghame, 


Great  Adventure,  The,  219 

Greek  Slave,  The,  21 
Grein,  J.  T.,  57,  237 
Grossmith,  George,  140 
Grundy,  Sydney,  37 
Guiliano,  in 
Guy  Domville,  202,  226 

Hackett,    James    K.,    161-165, 


Hackett,  Mrs.,  164,  238 
Hackney,  Mabel,  153,  155,  156, 


Halstan,  Margaret,  130 
Hamilton,  Emma,  Lady,  57,  64 
Hamilton,  Henry,  76 
Hamilton,  John  McClure,  114 
Hamlet,  116,  134,  144,  145,  184, 


Hanbury,  Lily,  178 
Hannibal,  106,  191 
Hardy,  Dudley,  224 
Hardy,  Thomas,  O.M.,  227 
Hare,  Sir  John  and  Lady,  90, 


Harris,  Sir  Augustus,  73,  203 
Harris,  Frank,  57,  59 
Hathaway,  Ann,  117 
Hatton,  Joseph,  88,  142 
Hawtrey,  Sir  Charles,  184 
Heartbreak  House,  171 
Hearth  and  Home,  35,  37 
Heart  of  a  Child,  The,  69 
Heavenly  Twins,  The,  227 
Heine,  Heinrich,  197 
Heinemann,  William,  226 
Henry  VIII,  179 
Hichens,  Robert,  100,  227 
His  House  in  Order,  240 
His  Majesty's  Theatre,  152, 172, 

178,  179 

Holbein,  Hans,  179 
Holland,  Hon.  Sydney,  123 
Howard,  Mrs.  Bronson,  23 
Howard  and  Son,  203 
Hugo,  Victor,  18 
Hunt,  Violet,  44 



Ibsen,  Henrik,  57,  89 
Incubus,  The,  153 
Independent  Theatre,  The  Com- 
mittee of  the,  57 
In  Search  of  Egeria,  188 
Irving,    Elizabeth,     146,     242, 


Irving,  Sir  Henry,  84-143,  152, 
156,  157,  162,  179,  183,  200, 
203,  204,  221,  224,  240, 

Irving,  Henry  B.,  99,  102,  no, 

141,  142,  144-154,  l63>  J88, 

201,  204,  219,  227,  243 
Irving,  Mrs.  H.  B.,  99,  155,  204, 

Irving,  Laurence,  87,  91,  92,  95, 

96,   100,   112,   153-157,   162, 

163,  204,  219 
Irving,  Laurence  (the  younger), 

146,  152,  243 
Irving,  Pamela  Mary,  243 

James,  Henry,  202,  222,  226 
Jewish  Society,  32 
John,  Augustus,  58 
Johnson,  Doctor,  207 
Joseph  in  Jeopardy,  55 
Journalism,  Dress,  35 
Journalism,  Shop,  35 
Jowett,  Professor  Benjamin,  87, 
88,  187 

Kean,  Edmund,  116,  179,  227 
Kelly,  Renee,  69,  167 
Kendal,  Mrs.,  189,  200 
King  Arthur,  131 
King,  Mrs.,  186 
Kinglake,  A.  W.,  52 
Kingston,  Beatty,  85 
Kingston,  Gertrude,  25,  26, 200, 


Kipling,  Rudyard,  191 
Kit  Marlowe,  188 
Knight,  Joseph,  202 
Knutsford,  Lord,  123 

Labouchere,  Rt.  Hon.  Henry,  17 
Laf argue,  Paul,  n 
Lafargue,  Madame  Paul,  10,  n 
Lamb,  Charles,  234 
Landor,  Walter  Savage,  46 
Lawrence,  Thomas,  100 
Legion  d'Honneur,  The,  164 
Lehmann,  Liza,  21,  66,  206 
Lehmann,  R.  C.,  187 
Leicester,  Earl  of,  119 
Leno,  Dan,  38 
Le  Sage,  Sir  John  M.,  223 
Les  Hannetons,  153 
Letty,  240 

Leverhulme,  Lord,  230 
Leverson,  Ada,  57 
Lincoln  Handicap,  The,  28 
Linton,  Sir  James,  37 
Linton,  Mrs.  Lynn,  44-46,  48 
Literary  Man's  Bible,  The,  190 
Little  Theatre,  The,  25 
Lloyd,  Marie,  225,  226 
Locke,  W.  J.,  216,  217 
Londesborough,  Lord  and  Lady, 


London,  Bishop  of,  151 
Louis  the  Eleventh,  155 
Loveday,  H.  J.,  128 
Lovelace,  153 
Lowndes,  Mrs.  Belloc,  59,  60, 


Lucy,  Sir  Thomas,  118 
Luddingtons,  The,  7 
Lumley,  Gertie,  108 
Lyceum  Theatre,  The,  88,  90, 

99,  222 

Lyons  Mail,  The,  155 
Lyric  Club,  The,  41,  42 

Macbeth,  123,  162,  163,  233 

McKenna,  Stephen,  242 

McKenna,  Mrs.  Theodore,  238 

Macmillan,  Messrs.,  56 

Manet,  18 

Manfred,  96 

Manoeuvres  of  Jane,  The,  26 



Marconi,  G.,  79 
Markheim,  188 
Marks,  Harry  H.,  37 
Marx,  Karl,  10 
Mary  Rose,  240 
Mauclair,  Camilla,  207 
May  Book,  The,  226,  227 
May,  Edna,  68 
Medicine  Man,  The,  100 
Melbourne,  Lord,  52 
Menpes,  Mortimer,  37 
Merchant  of  Venice,   The,   103, 


Meredith,  George,  225-227 
Messager,  Andre,  206 
Michaud,  Professor,  50 
Miles,  Frank,  100 
Milholland  Family,  The,  78-83 
Millard,  Evelyn,  41 
Milward,  Jessie,  108 
Miracle,  The,  199 
Monarchs  I  have  Met,  85 
Moore,  George,  18,  57, 192-197, 


Moore,  Mary,  23,  24,  27,  228 
Morning  Chronicle,  The,  44 
Mother,  My,  5,  9,  n,  12,  20, 

22,  31 

Munday,  Luther,  41,  42 
Murillo,  4 

Muscovitch,  Maurice,  152 
Music,  Royal  Academy  of,  41 

Nares,  Owen,  178 

National  Gallery,  The,  4 

National  Theatre,  The,  105 

Neilson,  Julia,  178,  201 

Nelson,  Lord,  64 

Nelson's  Legacy,  57 

Nevinson,  C.  R.  W.,  214,  241, 


Newdigate,  The,  16 
New  York,  37,  78,  153,  164,  232 
New  York  Herald,  163 
New  York  Tribune,  78 
Nicholas  I,  Tsar,  52 

Northumberland,  Duke  of,  161 
Novikoif,  Madame,  47-53,  78 

Qdeon,  163 

Old  Wives9  Tale,  The,  36 

Oliver  Twist,  9,  178 

On  the  Side  of  the  Angels,  188 

O.P.  Club,  43 

Ophelia,  243 

Othello,  113,  162,  163,  172 

Our  Mutual  Friend,  9 

Outline  of  History,  175 

"  Owen  Hall,"  5,  7,  9, 12, 15-22, 

31,  65,  66,  105 
Oxford    and    Cambridge    Boat 

Race,  42 

Pain,  Barry,  220 

Pain,  Mrs.  Barry,  38 

Pall  Mall  Gazette,  The,  347 

Pan,  15,  16,  18 

Panton,  Mrs.  J.  E.,  33,  158 

Paris,  12,  18,  37,  164 

Parker,  Sir  Gilbert,  227 

Parker,  Louis  N.,  118 

Parkinson,  Joe,  88 

Pastiche  and  Prejudice,  61 

Pater,  Walter,  192 

Patmore,  Coventry,  46 

Peace,  Charles,  103 

Pearson,  Sir  Arthur,  39 

Pemberton,  Max,  37 

Peter  Ibbetson,  178,  181 

Peter  the  Great,  87,  91,  99,  100, 


Phillips,  Stephen,  140 
Phoenix,  The,  17 
Pigs  in  Clover,  55 
Pinero,  Sir  Arthur,  42,  62,  77, 

88,  189,  217,  218,  240 
Plato,  51 
Plough,  The,  191 
Plymouth,  The  Earl  of,  203 
Pope,  The,  92 
Pretenders,  The,  153,  243 
Price  of  Peace,  The,  71 



Prince  of  Wales,  H.R.H.  The, 


Prisoner  of  Zenda,  The,  165 
Prodigal  Son,  The,  141 
Professor's  Love  Story,  The,  240 
Punch,  58 
Purachatra,  Prince  of  Siam,  90 

Quality  Street,  240 

Raffles,  184 

Ragged  School  Union,  The,  181 
Raleigh,  Cecil,  17,  18,  70-77 
Reading,  Lord,  83 
Reform  Club,  The,  88 
Reid,  Whitelaw,  78 
Review  of  Reviews,  The,  81 
Reynolds,  Walter,  203 
Richard  II,  177,  179 
Robespierre,  240 
Robinson  Crusoe,  191 
Robsart,  Amy,  119 
Romano's,  17 
Romney,  George,  57 
Rossetti,  D.  G.,  225 
Rousseau,  Jean  Jacques,  196 
Royal  Institute,  The,  149 
Runaways,  The,  25 
Ruskin,  John,  46 
Russia,  47,  51,  154,  173,  176 

St.  Martin's-in-the-Fields,  149 
Saintsbury,  H.  A.,  164 
Salaman,  Charles,  40,  206 
Salaman,  Malcolm,  33, 34, 40-42 
Salinus,  Professor,  68 
Salvation  Army,  The,  54,  181 
Samuel,  Sir  Herbert,  83 
Sargent,  John  S.,  100,  114,  174 
Saturday  Review,  The,  45 
Savoy  Theatre,  The,  147 
Scharrer,  Irene,  160 
School  for  Scandal,  The,  179 
Scott,  Clement,  86,  92,  93,  237 
Second   Mrs.    Tanqueray,    The, 

Secret    Investigation    Depart  - 

ment,  The,  147 
Seddon,  Richard,  109 
Sergeant  Brue,  21 
Shakespeare,  William,  75,  112, 

117,  119,  150,  178,  207,  221 
Shall  we  Join  the  Ladies  ?,  240 
Sharp,  Evelyn,  227 
Shaw,  George  Bernard,  57 
Shelley,  Percy  Bysshe,  41, 43,  84 
"  Shifter,  The,"  17 
Shylock,  85,  103,  152 
Silver,  Captain,  25 
Skipworth,  F.  Markham,  7 
Skoboleff,  52 
Smith,  John  Raphael,  56 
Socialism,  18,  70,  104,  156 
Solomon,  Lady,  80 
Sphinx's  Lawyer,  The,  16,  54 
Sporting  Times,  The,  17,  194 
"  Stalled  Ox,"  17 
Star,  The,  60 
Stead,  William  T.,  80-82 
Stephens,  Pottinger,  17 
Sterne,  Laurence,  197 
Stevenson,  R.  L.,  188,  225 
Stoker,  Bram,  88,  128 
Stratford-on-Avon,  116 
Stratton,  Fred,  241 
Strike  at  Arlingford,  The,  57 
Suffield,  Lord,  91 
Sullivan,  Sir  Arthur,  206 
Swinburne,   Algernon   Charles, 

93>  225  I 

Tate  Gallery,  The,  100 
Taylor,  "  Babs,"  167 
Temple,  Hope,  206 
Tennyson,   Alfred,   Lord,    106, 

141,  142 

Terriss,  Ellaline,  68 
Terriss,  William,  108,  109 
Terry,  Edward,  203 
Terry,  Ellen,  42,  88,  100,  189 
Terry,  Fred,  201 
Terry,  Marion,  188 



Thackeray,  William  Makepeace, 


Thirteen  Travellers,  The,  235 
Thomas,  Amy  Brandon,  239 
Thomas,  Brandon,  239 
Thompson,  Alfred,  15 
Three  Arts  Club,  The,  127 
Thurtell  and  Weare  Case,  The, 


Times,  The,  61 
Toole,  John,  88,  no 
Traill,  H.  D.,  100 
Tree,    Sir   Herbert   Beerbohm, 

88,  105,  162,  172,  178,  179, 

189,  240 

Tree,  Lady,  188,  240 
Trilby,  243 

Triumph  of  Time,  The,  92 
Truth,  210,  212 
Twain,  Mark,  159 
Twelfth  Night,  170,  171 
Twilight,  8,  69,  222 
Two  Roses,  The,  200 
Tyndall,  John,  52 
Typhoon,  The,  153 

Ugala,  Prince  of  Siam,  90 
Undine,  188 
Unger,  Gladys,  239 

Vanbrugh,  Irene,  240 

Vanbrugh,  Violet,  218,  219,  240 

Vassar  College,  79 

Venus  de  Milo,  33 

Verestchagin,  52 

Vernon,  Dorothy,  124 

Vernon,  Frank,  219 

Vestris,  Madame,  100 

Vezin,  Herman,  17 

Victoria,  Queen,  52,   108,  140, 

Voysey,  Charles,  46 

Wagner,  Richard,  192,  193 
Wain,  Louis,  21 
Walkley,  A.  B.,  60-62 
Walpole,  Hugh,  235 
Walter,  115,  116,  128,  224 
Ward,  James,  56 
Ward,  William,  56 
Warden,  A.  J.,  33,  34 
Waterloo,  86,  152,  155 
Watts,  George  Frederick,  65 
Webs  of  Penelope,  The,  188 
Wells,  Ernest,  17 
Wells,  H.    G.,    173-176,    215, 


Wells,  Mrs.  H.  G.,  176 
Wesley,  John,  135 
West,  Mrs.  Cornwallis,  237 
Westminster   Abbey,    22,    105, 


What  Maisie  Knew,  226 
Whistler,  James  McNeill,  41, 99, 


White  Heather,  72,  73,  75 
Who's  Who,  66 
Widowers'  Houses,  57 
Wilde,  Oscar,  15,  16,  54,  112 
Wilde,  Willie,  15,  16,  33 
Wolf,  Lucien,  50 
Woman,  35,  36 
Wood,  J.  S,  33,  34 
World,  The,  16 
World  of  Dress,    The,   37,   38, 

Wyndham,  Sir  Charles,  23-26, 

184,  227 
Wyndham,  Lady,  23,  227 

Yates,  Edmund,  16 
Yoke,  The,  175 

Zangwill,  Israel,  227 
Zola,  Emile,  18 



DA  Aria,   Eliza  Davis 

566  My  sentimental  self